The Queen’s Birthday Honours list ihas been published.
Naturally the knighthood for Paul Kenny, the Leader of the GMB trade union has stolen the show. But there were also some Conservatives who found their contribution to public life recognised.
Simon Burns, the Conservative MP for Chelmsford, is knighted. He has served as a Minister of State for Transport and earlier as Health Minister. He is unusual for being a supporter of the Democrats in the United States. Proposing the Loyal Address for the Queen’s Speech last month Sir Simon recalled that William Hague had called him with some “unsettling news” about Hillary Clinton:
“Hillary had got wind of my desire to help her 2016 presidential campaign, and it was not good news he had to convey to me. She told William she had heard about my record: “He worked for McGovern’s campaign in ’72, and he lost; he worked for Ted Kennedy’s campaign in 1980, and he lost; he worked for Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s campaign in 2002, and she lost; and he worked for my campaign in 2008, and I lost. For goodness’ sake”, Hillary pleaded with him, “please find Simon something—anything—else to do, away from the United States in 2016.”
Sir Simon also touched on reports of tensions in his relationship with The Speaker John Bercow. Sir Simon commented:
“In recent years there have been dastardly rumours that you, Mr Speaker, and I do not get on, or even – heaven forbid – that we do not like each other. Just before Dissolution, I read an article by your biographer, who bizarrely suggested that I might be ugly, but, as you know, it is said that politics is show business for ugly people, so, Mr Speaker, I would say that we are all in this together.
“It is time, Mr Speaker, that we buried the hatchet—preferably not in my back—so I would like to offer an olive branch by clearing up a rumour about your car. As you will know, in recent years my relationship with cars has not been an altogether happy one, but it has been said that a few years ago my car reversed into yours in Speaker’s Court. You apparently saw the incident through the window of your apartment and hurried out shouting at me, “I’m not happy”, to which I am reputed to have replied, “Then which one are you?” If it is helpful to you, Mr Speaker, I want categorically to confirm that this incident never happened.”
Among other awards is CBE for Cllr Peter Golds, a Conservative hero. For some of us supporting democracy and the rule of law might be platitudinous. For Cllr Golds in Tower Hamlets championing these cause – has been daily struggle since Lutfur Rahman became the directly elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2010.
For years the police and such bastions of officialdom as the Electoral Commission showed an inclination to ignore the evidence of fraud and intimidation that Cllr Golds produced. Often he would be on the receiving end of abuse himself. But amidst all the threats, the homophobia and anti-semitism he battled on.
Of course there is still unfinished business with five specific safeguards needed. But Cllr Golds has played a key role in restoring Tower Hamlets to being (just about) functioning democracy again – even if he was not a personal beneficiary of that in the election of a new Mayor in that borough on Thursday.
Among other well-deserved recipients in the Honours List..
- A knighthood for Henry Angest – National Treasurer of the Conservative Party for political service.
- An OBE for Graham John Robeson, Eastern Treasurer, Conservative Party. For
voluntary political service.
- An OBE for Robert Mark Greenhill Semple, President, National Conservative Convention. For political service.
- An MBE for Robert Crawford Banks Forman, Honorary Secretary, Scottish Conservative
and Unionist Association. For political service. (Edinburgh)
- An MBE for Pauline Ruth Lucas, President, Conservative Women’s Organisation. For political service.
- An MBE for Cllr Stephen Thomas O’Brien, Chairman, Watford Conservative Association. For voluntary political service.
- A BEM for Clarence Herbert Atterby, President, Boston Conservative Association. For voluntary political service.
- A BEM for Elizabeth Pooley, For voluntary political service in Chesham and Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
Congratulations to them and to all those included in the list.