New Year Honours 2017: Cameron 'host' among recipients

image copyrightAP
image captionDavid Cameron left office sooner than expected in July

A Tory official whose London home David Cameron stayed in after he left Downing Street this summer has been appointed CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Associate treasurer Dominic Johnson is one of several party figures to be honoured for political service.

A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Tories were "making a mockery of our honours system".

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat grandee Baroness Williams becomes a Companion of Honour.

Businessman David Ord, who gave £25,000 to the Conservatives the day after Theresa May became leader, also gets a knighthood for political service and service to the South West.

The co-owner of Bristol Port Company, who had been south-west regional treasurer of the Conservative Party in the 1990s, was a regular financial backer of the party under David Cameron, donating both nationally and in support of local MPs.

In total he has given more than £1m in cash donations to the party, according to the Electoral Commission.

Stop gap

Mr Johnson is CEO of investment firm Somerset Capital, which he founded with another Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

He provided temporary accommodation for Mr Cameron and his family after the prime minister's resignation in the wake of the EU referendum this summer.

Mr Cameron had been expecting to leave office in October, but brought his departure forward to July after the Conservative leadership contest ended earlier than expected.

The PM was unable to move back into his previous London home, which he swapped in 2010 for Downing Street, as it had been rented out.

According to Mr Cameron's entry in the Commons register of members' interests, the former prime minister - who stood down as an MP in September - occupied the property provided by Mr Johnson between 18 July and 31 October at a rentable value of £2,650 a week, a benefit in kind equivalent to £37,100.

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image captionBaroness Williams served in the Commons and Lords for a total of more than 30 years

Honours on the basis of political service, which since 2012 have been considered by a committee led by the former Tory MP Sir Michael Spicer, have proved controversial.

Mr Cameron was criticised for including many of his close aides and associates in his resignation honours list in July - prompting calls from opposition parties for his successor Theresa May to intervene and for more transparency in the process.

Other Conservatives to receive honours this time around include director of campaigning Darren Mott (OBE), deputy head of fundraising Louise Goodall (MBE) and Alexandra Broadrick (MBE), former chief of staff to Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn told the Guardian: "Every crony appointment is an insult to the incredible people from right across Britain who are rewarded for the great contributions they make to our national life."

'Gang of four'

Elsewhere in the world of politics, there are New Year honours for Conservative MP Julian Brazier and Labour MP David Crausby, both of whom have been recommended for knighthoods.

Former Lib Dem pensions minister Steve Webb also gets a knighthood, while Northumbria Police Commissioner Vera Baird, an ex-Labour MP, becomes a dame for services to women and equality.

Baroness Williams is to be recognised for her distinguished parliamentary career stretching back more than 50 years.

She was first elected to the House of Commons as a Labour MP in 1964 and served in government under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, latterly as education secretary.

After losing her seat in the 1979 election, she became one of the so-called "Gang of Four" senior Labour figures who left the party in protest at its direction and formed the breakaway SDP. In 1981, she returned to Parliament after winning a by-election in Crosby, serving as its MP for two years.

The 86-year old is among six prominent individuals to join the Order of the Companions of Honour, a group limited to 65 individuals judged to have made a "major contribution" to British life.

Existing members include Sir John Major, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Sir David Attenborough.

Among other public servants to be recognised in the New Year Honours are Mark Lowcock, the most senior mandarin at the Department for International Development, and David Beamish - the most senior official in the House of Lords - who both receive knighthoods.

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