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Cameron’s ‘gongs for chums’ list sparks fury. But don’t expect Theresa May to block it

1 August 2016

8:05 AM

1 August 2016

8:05 AM

His time in No.10 might have come to an end last month but it’s David Cameron who is on the front pages of several newspapers this morning. The former PM’s resignation list of honours has sparked outrage since it was published by the Sunday Times yesterday. And today the fallout shows no sign of dampening down. Many of the usual suspects have attacked Cameron but what’s interesting about the criticism is its unanimity. Labour MP Tom Watson said it was ‘cronyism, pure and simple’; and many Tory MPs seem to agree. Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said those who were going to be rewarded were the ‘people who brought politics into disrepute’. Whilst Andrew Rosindell said those on the list were being honoured only for doing their jobs. And the newspapers are also unanimous in their criticism: in their editorials, The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the Express all go on the attack. So will Dave’s pals actually get their gongs?

This row looks like it’ll bubble on and is already proving to be an unwelcome headache for Theresa May in distracting her from using the Parliamentary lull to prepare for Brexit negotiations. Cameron is the first former PM to draw up a resignation honours list since John Major. On that occasion, whilst Tony Blair was accused of ‘undiluted spite’ for amending a list Major had drawn up before he left Downing Street, he left Major’s resignation honours list untouched. And it seems more than likely that Theresa May will do the same this time around – with Downing Street having indicated its for the Cabinet Office to decide whether to veto anyone on the list. No previous Prime Minister has actively blocked a resignation honours list. And despite the uproar today, it’s doesn’t seem probable that Theresa May is going to alter that precedent. What’s more likely is for a name or two to drop off the list before it gets to the approval stage. But the final substance of this resignation honours list will change little, if at all, meaning most of Cameron’s pals will get their gongs after all.


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