New Year's Honours: The 7 biggest Tory cronies given awards by David Cameron

The people given awards for services to the Conservative party, rather than to the country 

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Thursday 31 December 2015 12:33
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The PM has come under fire for handing so many gongs to his allies, party members and supporters
The PM has come under fire for handing so many gongs to his allies, party members and supporters

David Cameron has yet again been accused of undermining the honours system by handing gongs to Conservative members or supporters.

A total of 26 people have been named in the New Year's Honours list for their "political service" - i.e. not for what they have done for the country, but for their services to their political party.

Here are the seven biggest Tory cronies awarded by the Prime Minister:

1. Lynton Crosby, election strategist

The Australian 'Wizard of Oz' was brought in by David Cameron in 2012 to manage his General Election strategy.

He was credited with masterminding the Conservative party's first outright election win in more than 20 years.

The decision by the Prime Minister to knight Mr Crosby for "political service" has caused outrage, with even Tory MPs condemning the move.

Lynton Crosby is expected to be knighted in the New Year (Getty)

2. Jacqueline Gold

The so-called ‘queen of the sex shop’ Jacqueline Gold, chief executive of Ann Summers, who is credited with changing the lingerie and sex toys retail chain’s brand image to make it more women-friendly, has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), which is the highest award on offer below being made a knight or a dame.

Ms Gold and her father, David Gold, who made a fortune selling pornography, are prominent donors to the Conservative Party. She appeared alongside George Osborne at a pre-election Conservative press conference.

Jacqueline Gold: CBE

3. Henry Bellingham

An old Etonian who has been MP for Norfolk North West for 32 years and was a junior foreign minister for two years. He was given a knighthood in the New Year's Honours.

Henry Bellingham MP: Knighthood

4. Mark McInnes, director of the Scottish Conservatives

Mr McInnes received the CBE, despite the fact that since he was put in charge of the party north of the border in 2003 the party has failed to increase its number of MPs from the grand total of one (David Mundell).

Several other Scottish Tories have been awarded honours, including defeated candidates at May's General Election such as Alexander James Stewart.

Another Scottish Tory, James Stewart, was honoured for his "political service" - he was a director of a London-based equity firm when he took over as treasurer of the Scottish Tories in 2012.

5. Marion Little, Tory activist

She has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) - the next most prestigious award after the CBE - presumably due to her role as a long-serving party organiser based at head office with the title 'campaign specialist'.

6. Dr Spencer Pitfield, director of Tory policy group

Also honoured for his "political service" was Dr Spencer Pitfield, who served as director of the Conservative National Policy Forum in the run up to this year's General Election.

He unsuccessfully ran against Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam in 2005.

He was given an OBE in the New Year's Honours.

7. Lyndon Jones, from the Welsh Conservatives

The current deputy chairman of the Welsh Conservative Party was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

Click here for the full 2016 New Year's Honours list.

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