Theresa May refuses to intervene against David Cameron’s honours list for his friends

A Downing Street spokesperson said intervening would set a ‘very bad precedent’

Jon Stone@joncstone
Monday 01 August 2016 18:07
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Theresa May has left David Cameron to reward his friends with honours
Theresa May has left David Cameron to reward his friends with honours

Theresa May will not intervene in David Cameron's resignation honours list despite allegations that it amounts to cronyism, Downing Street has said.

There were calls for an overhaul of the honours system after the list was leaked, which incudes the head of the campaign to stay in the EU and Samantha Cameron’s personal stylist.

Other controversial reported nominations included knighthoods for four pro-EU cabinet colleagues: Philip Hammond, Michael Fallon, Patrick McLoughlin and David Lidington.

Despite the outcry, a Downing Street spokesperson said it would set a “very bad precedent” for Number 10 to intervene in an outgoing prime minister’s list.

“It is standard for an outgoing prime minister to submit a resignation list,” the spokesperson told an official briefing of journalists in Parliament.

“The names on the list were at the former prime minister's discretion, and they will now go through all the proper processes and committees.

“It would set a very bad precedent for a new prime minister to interfere in the official processes.”

Prime Ministers have traditionally been able to nominate whoever they like for honours when they retire, outside of the usual nominations system.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said Mr Cameron’s bid to reward his friends and close colleagues amounted to an “old boys' network”.

“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.

Nominations for honours are reviewed by honours committees, which include senior civil servants and people judged to be independent of Government.

Each committee has a majority of independent members, with one of them chairing discussions, and reviews nominations for specific activities such as sport or arts and media, according to the Government.

A Number 10 representative is invited to attend all meetings.

The individual committees feed into the main honours committee, which then produces a list and its decisions go to the Prime Minister and then the Queen – who bestows the honour.

Additional reporting by PA

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