Labour has accused former Prime Minister David Cameron of cronyism after his resignation honors list was found to include his and his wife’s personal aides, Tory donors and senior party figures.
Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, called Cameron out for rewarding the “old boys’ network,” including knighthoods for his former foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, and former Chancellor George Osborne, as well as serving Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, and his own private secretary, Gavin Williamson MP.
How come there’s a resignation honours list? PM who massively screws up hands sweets to mates. How come at highest level failure rewarded?
— Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) August 1, 2016
The list also includes members of Cameron’s staff, such as his wife Samantha’s stylist Isabel Spearman, who is up for an OBE, and his head of operations Liz Sugg, already holding a CBE and now tipped for a damehood.
Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to comment on the matter, claiming the names had been recommended at the ex-PM’s discretion and that her interference would “set a very bad precedent.”
Commenting on the vast list of Conservative figures proposed, Watson said he hopes May will take action.
“That Mr Cameron proposes to reward his friends network on such a huge scale will not only bring the honours system into disrepute, it will undermine the reputation of the Theresa May,” he said.
“It’s cronyism, pure and simple and proof the Tories will always put their own interests before those of the country.”
To Labour’s great annoyance two major Tory donors are also on the list: ‘Remain’ campaigner and Better Together’s biggest donor businessman Ian Taylor, and £1 million Tory benefactor Andrew Cook.
Better Together head Will Straw’s name was also on the list for a potential CBE.
Cameron’s nomination of Remain campaigners prompted outgoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage to say it was a “good job” the ex-PM is now gone.
“Too many rewards for failure,” said Farage.
But what seemed to cause the most anger was that Downing Street’s chief mouser Larry the cat was not included in the resignation honors. Social media went into meltdown when the mog was found absent from the list.
Outrageous! Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, Larry the Cat misses out but Samantha Cameron’s stylist could get an OBE. #HonoursList
— Faisal Rahim (@FaisalRahimIV) July 31, 2016
Committee on Standards in Public Life one-time chairman Sir Alistair Graham agreed, saying: “A lot of prime ministers have done dissolution honours in which they look after their friends, but Mr Cameron has gone well over the top.
“It further devalues the system because honors are supposed to be related to genuine public service and it’s very difficult to argue that all of these people have met the criteria that normally apply. I’m surprised Larry the cat didn’t get one.”