David Cameron accused of 'cronyism' after leaked 'resignation honours list'


A cronyism row has erupted following the apparent leak of David Cameron's resignation honours list.

Opposition MPs have called for a complete overhaul of the system after it was claimed the former PM is pushing to reward personal aides, political donors, and senior figures of the losing Remain campaign.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said Cameron's bid to reward his friends presented the worst of the "old boys' network".

Labour party deputy leader Tom Watson (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Tom Watson said Cameron's list was the worst of the "old boys' network" (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The row was sparked by reports that Cameron had recommended knighthoods for four pro-EU cabinet colleagues, Philip Hammond, Michael Fallon, Patrick McLoughlin, and David Lidington.

Cameron also requested a companion of honour award for George Osborne, who was dismissed as chancellor by Prime Minister Theresa May, according to the Sunday Times.

Will Straw, head of the failed official pro-Remain campaign, was proposed for a CBE, and more than 20 Downing St staff were recommended for awards, according to the report.

Among those reported to be recommended for OBEs is Isabel Spearman, who helped Samantha Cameron with her diary and outfits for various engagements.

It was also claimed Cameron recommended knighthoods for major Tory donors Ian Taylor and Andrew Cook.

ormer prime minister David Cameron outside the property where he is staying (Steve Parsons/PA)
David Cameron has been accused of cronyism (Steve Parsons/PA)

Watson said: "I hope Theresa May is not going stake her reputation on David Cameron's old boys' network.

"That Mr Cameron proposes to reward his friends network on such a huge scale will not only bring the honours system into disrepute, it will undermine the reputation of the Theresa May.

"It's cronyism, pure and simple and proof the Tories will always put their own interests before those of the country."

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith called for a total revamp of the system in light of the controversy. "I'm disappointed that the former prime minister should use the system to slap his friends on the back," Smith said.

Downing St declined to comment.

Ex-minister Desmond Swayne, who was previously Cameron's parliamentary private secretary, said an honours list was a "relatively light way" of paying off "debts of honour".

"The reality is with any honours list there are names that will warm our hearts and names that will send us into an apoplectic rage," he told the BBC's Westminster Hour.