Britain

Geoff Boycott knighthood criticised by domestic abuse charities

Ex-England cricketer Geoff Boycott has been awarded a knighthood by Theresa May in a farewell honours list that also rewards many of her former aides.

Domestic abuse charities have criticised the move, pointing out his conviction for assaulting his then-partner in 1998.

Adina Claire, co-acting chief executive of Women's Aid, said: "Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.

"With increasing awareness of domestic abuse, and a domestic abuse bill ready to be taken forward by Government, it is extremely disappointing that a knighthood has been recommended for Geoffrey Boycott, who is a convicted perpetrator of domestic abuse."

Boycott, who has always denied the assault, was fined £5,000 and given a three-month suspended prison sentence over the attack.

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Image: Theresa May's advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill are made CBEs

In 2017, Boycott apologised for reportedly saying "I'd better black me face" to get a knighthood as they were handed out "like confetti" to West Indian greats such as Sir Viv Richards and Sir Garfield Sobers.

Mrs May's list also contains honours for many of those who worked with her in Downing Street.

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Her controversial former joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill – who were forced to quit No 10 in the wake of the 2017 general election defeat – are made CBEs.

Olly Robbins, who led negotiations with the EU and is blamed by many Tory MPs for her three times rejected Brexit deal, receives a knighthood, as does former Tory Director of Communications Robbie Gibb.

There are peerages for her Tory special advisers such as Gavin Barwell, Joanna Penn, Stephen Parkinson, Liz Sanderson, and Tory vice-chairman David Brownlow.

Opposition parties were quick to criticise Mrs May's choices.

The couple after Strauss was awarded his OBE in 2011
Image: Andrew Strauss, seen with his OBE in 2011, receives a knighthood

Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Pete Wishart accused her of "handing out peerages like sweeties – to the same Tory advisers who got us into this Brexit mess", calling it "the worst kind of cronyism.

"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".

File photo dated 13/03/18 of Sir Kim Darroch
Image: Sir Kim Darroch becomes a life 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."

Fiona Hill with Theresa May in 2011
Image: Fiona Hill with Theresa May in 2011

Ben Howlett, a Conservative MP until 2017, said "it is deeply galling that so many have been rewarded for so much failure.

"At a time when MPs are having to decide between national interest and party, it is astonishing that the previous Downing Street has decided to reward so many for putting party first.

The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, defended Mrs May's list, saying it was "substantially smaller" than previous editions.

Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell
Image: Gavin Barwell becomes a life peer

Mrs May's predecessor, David Cameron, was criticised for handing out 46 knighthoods and honours, as well as 13 peerages, to his aides, donors, political allies – and even his wife's stylist – when he stood down three years ago.

That prompted Mrs May to say soon after taking office that honours should go to people who "really contribute", in what was widely seen as a thinly veiled attack on him.

Former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss is knighted for services to sport, while Sir Kim Darroch, who was forced to resign as ambassador to the United States after falling out with the Trump administration, is made a life peer.

The full list of honours and peerages:

CH (Order Of The Companions Of Honour)

  • The Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP, for political and public service

KCMG (Knight Commander, Order Of St Michael And St George)

  • George Hollingbery MP, for political and public service
  • Oliver Robbins CB, for public service

KCB (Knight Commander, Order Of The Bath)

  • The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP, for political and public service
  • Peter Storr CB, for public service

KBE/DBE (Knight/dame, Order Of The British Empire)

  • Cressida Dick CBE QPM, for public service
  • Charles Walker OBE MP, for political and public service

Knighthood

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