Minister defends 'knighthood' for Tory election chief Lynton Crosby


A Government minister has strongly defended the expected award of a knighthood to David Cameron's controversial general election strategist, Lynton Crosby.

Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock described Mr Crosby as a "great public servant" and said that it was right that such people were recognised through the honours system.

Labour MPs have accused the Prime Minister of degrading the honours system after it was reported that Mr Crosby was in line for a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

But Mr Hancock said that there was a long tradition of honouring people for political service.

"He is a great public servant. Political service, I think, is part of public service. People who make a contribution to our democratic process make a public service," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

"There is a long history of political service being recognised as part of public service.

"Services to our democracy are a very important part of making sure we live in this great democratic country where people every few years can kick out their government if they want to.

The Australian Mr Crosby masterminded the Conservative Party's first outright election victory in two decades, returning Mr Cameron to Downing Street in May without the need for a coalition.

The so-called Wizard Of Oz previously helped win the London mayoralty for Boris Johnson.

But some of Mr Crosby's campaigning techniques and the work of his lobbying firm, including with the tobacco industry, have been controversial.