It is Theresa May’s response that will be the important sign here.
Will she act to end the cronyism that has dogged the Conservative Party – or will she add to it, tarnishing her own reputation almost before she’s had a chance to make one?
Theresa May is facing calls to block honours for No 10 “cronies” after a leaked list revealed David Cameron has requested knighthoods for party donors, pro-EU campaigners and political aides.
Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians called for an overhaul of the system as it emerged one of Cameron’s last acts in office was to propose rewards for more than 40 allies, including four cabinet ministers and donors to the Conservatives and the EU remain campaign.
One of the most controversial knighthoods named on the list is proposed for Ian Taylor, an oil executive who gave almost £1m to the Conservatives in the past 18 months and helped fund the campaigns against Scottish independence and in favour of the EU. Andrew Cook, an engineering businessman who donated the use of a private jet to Cameron before the 2010 election and donated about £250,000 to the remain campaign, is similarly in line for a knighthood.
According to the leak, Cameron recommended awards for more than 20 Downing Street advisers and staff and knighthoods for the pro-EU cabinet ministers Philip Hammond, Michael Fallon, Patrick McLoughlin and David Lidington. George Osborne, Cameron’s closest political friend, who lost his job as chancellor after helping run the unsuccessful remain campaign, was put forward to become a companion of honour.
There was also criticism over a proposed CBE for Will Straw, the chief executive of the failed cross-party pro-EU campaign, who is the son of the former home secretary Jack Straw and a former Labour parliamentary candidate.
It is said to include proposed OBEs for the Downing Street aide Isabel Spearman, a former PR for a luxury handbag designer who assisted Samantha Cameron with her diary, official parties and outfits for engagements, and for Osborne’s aide Thea Rogers, an ex-BBC producer.
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