Tory and Labour MPs who caused trouble for Boris Johnson knighted in New Year Honours list

Politics

Tory and Labour MPs who caused trouble for Boris Johnson have been recognised in the first New Year Honours list to be published since he left No 10.

Conservative Julian Lewis, chairman of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC), and Labour MP Chris Bryant, who chairs the commons standards committee, have both received knighthoods.

Former permanent secretary at the Treasury Sir Tom Scholar, who was sacked by Liz Truss on her first day in office, has also been honoured as he is made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, having been made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2017.

Honours are awarded by the King but most are given on recommendations made to him by the prime minister or outgoing prime ministers, especially political honours.

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Sir Julian, MP for New Forest East, blew Mr Johnson’s plans to have senior Tory Chris Grayling as ISC chairman after securing backing from Labour members of the committee to get elected to the post instead.

He had the Conservative whip withdrawn – was suspended from the Tory party – as punishment for refusing to toe the party line. It was later restored.

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Sir Chris was an outspoken critic of Mr Johnson and was chairman of the standards committee when it recommended Conservative MP Owen Paterson should be suspended from the Commons in 2021 for 30 days for breaking lobbying rules.

Mr Johnson’s attempt to re-write disciplinary procedures by trying to get the finding overturned threw the government into disarray and the incident was seen as the start of the difficulties that led to his downfall.

Sir Chris spoke out against Mr Johnson with regards to Downing Street lockdown parties and has recused himself as chair of the privileges committee during an inquiry into whether Mr Johnson lied to parliament due to his criticism of the former PM.

Chris Bryant grills Boris Johnson  during the Liaison Committee
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Chris Bryant grilling Boris Johnson during the Liaison Committee in July

The Labour MP said he was “very shocked” when he learned he was to be knighted and said it was an honour for the whole committee.

He said his campaigning on phone hacking, sanctions on Russia, national strategy for acquired brain injuries as well as being chair of the standards committee were noted on the email informing him he was being knighted.

Sir Chris told Sky News: “This isn’t for me, this is for my constituents who have put up with me for 21 years and all the organisations I work with.

“I think members look to the committee to uphold high standards and when people have stepped over the mark to bring in tough sanctions.

“So perhaps this is in recognition of the fact government is only by consent and we MPs are only there for a brief period of time at the behest of the British public and if we go wrong people want us to tackle that.”

Julian Lewis has been given a knighthood
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Julian Lewis has been given a knighthood

Sir Tom’s dismissal was widely seen as Ms Truss and then-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng throwing out orthodox Treasury economic thinking.

The top civil servant, who served under Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Mr Johnson, led the UK out of the 2007-8 financial crash and through the COVID crisis.

His sacking was seen as having contributed to the economic turmoil following Mr Kwarteng’s catastrophic mini-budget as the markets saw the experienced civil servant as a steady hand.

Sir Tom Scholar was sacked by Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss
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Sir Tom Scholar was sacked by Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss

Also honoured this year are Britain’s ambassadors to Ukraine and Russia, Melinda Simmons and Deborah Bronnert, who both receive damehoods.

Cop26 president Alok Sharma is knighted and Conservative former minister Andrew Stephenson, who was party co-chairman in Mr Johnson’s caretaker cabinet over the summer, is made a CBE.

Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft receives a knighthood, while former cabinet secretary Lord Sedwill is made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George.

And the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in recognition of her role in maintaining the high standard of animal health and welfare following Brexit.

Her honour is also due to her “significant efforts in managing the largest ever outbreak of avian influenza”, which has seen farmers having to cull turkeys this Christmas to stop the spread.

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