Theresa May rewards aides behind 2017 vote disaster in resignation Honours

Prime Minister Theresa May's former chief of staff Nick Timothy and Joint-chief of staff Fiona Hill.
Prime Minister Theresa May's former chief of staff Nick Timothy and Joint-chief of staff Fiona Hill.
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The Downing Street advisers behind Theresa May’s catastrophic election campaign and her failed attempt to deliver a Brexit deal are to get honours and peerages, prompting accusations of cronyism from opposition parties.

On her recommendation, the former prime minister’s former joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill – who were forced to quit Number 10 in the wake of the 2017 general election debacle – are made CBEs. Robbie Gibb, Mrs May’s director of communications, is to receive a knighthood, despite the former PM joking at a political awards ceremony in 2016 that she had felt physically sick by the peerage handed to Craig Oliver, who served as David Cameron’s communications director.

Gavin Barwell, who succeeded Mr Timothy and Ms Hill as her chief of staff, also becomes a life peer.

Mrs May’s former political secretary Stephen Parkinson and special advisers Joanna Penn and Elizabeth Sanderson are to become life peers.

There are CBEs for the former Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis, Number 10 political aides Paul Harrison and Kirsty Buchanan, as well as Mrs May’s spokesman, James Slack, who continues in the same role with Mr Johnson.

SNP MP Pete Wishart claimed Mrs May was handing out “rotten” peerages “like sweeties” to advisers “who got us into this Brexit mess”.

Mr Wishart said the resignation list was “the worst kind of cronyism and demonstrates everything that is wrong with the broken Westminster system.

“It is a disgrace that the Tories are able to give away jobs for the boys, and make their cronies and donors legislators for life with no democratic mandate or accountability to the people of Scotland and the UK.”

A number of major Conservative donors are also in line for honours on the resignation list, including party treasurer Ehug Sheleg, who has donated a total of £3.1 million, and receives a knighthood, and party vice-chair David Brownlow, who has previously donated £3m and is made a peer.

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: “It comes as no surprise that big Tory donors and Number 10 cronies are being honoured yet again.

“The Tories only care about looking after their own and will only stand up for the wealthy few who fund them.”

The list of honours also includes British Empire Medals for Graham Howarth, the head of the Chequers estate, and Debra Wheatley, a housekeeper at Number 10.

A source close to Mrs May said the list “recognises the many different people who have made a significant contribution to public life” and includes “members of the civil service, civic society, the NHS and the sporting world”.