Lynton Crosby knighthood sparks fresh row over New Years Honours 'cronyism'

The Australian political strategist, is credited with securing the Tories' first outright election victory in more than 20 years

The reported decision to knight Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ election mastermind, has sparked a fresh row over alleged cronyism in the honours system.

Mr Crosby, soon to be Sir Lynton when the New Year Honours are officially announced, was brought in by the Conservatives for the 2005 election and has widely been credited as the force behind their surprise victory in May.

The official reason for the award will not be revealed until Thursday but campaigners have voiced outrage and claimed the decision “demeans the honours system”.

Alexandra Runswick, director of campaign group Unlock Democracy, told The Sunday Times: “The honours system is supposed to be about rewarding public service…David Cameron is using it to reward a lobbyist.”  

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Lynton Crosby is said to view humanist weddings as a ‘fringe issue’ for the Tories (PA)

Several MPs have voiced their opposition to Mr Crosby being knighted, while many people were citing the Government’s own guidance.

“The honours system recognises people who have made achievements in public life (and) committed themselves to serving and helping Britain,” it says.

“They’ll usually have made life better for other people or be outstanding at what they do.”

The Government cites voluntary service, community work, innovation and “moral courage” among the possible achievements leading to an honour.

They are decided by a committee comprised of civil servants, professors, peers, experts and former MPs and then ratified by the Prime Minister and Queen.

Several commenters on Twitter did not seem to feel Mr Crosby met the relevant criteria…

…but some people thought the knighthood was well-deserved.

The 58-year-old Australian has also garnered less flattering nicknames including “master of the dark arts”.

Detractors have criticised Mr Crosby’s alleged divisive tactics and “dog whistle politics” in Tory campaigns on controversial issues, while satirical magazine Private Eye lampooned him as a dog bought by Mr Cameron to attack his opponents.

The strategist has also advised the Canadian Conservative Party, Liberal Party of Australia and cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International. 

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