Congratulations to Mike Penning MP (right) and Robert Syms MP, both of whom have been granted knighthoods by Her Majesty the Queen today.

Readers who can recall the June reshuffle (which now feels like a very long time ago) may recall that both men lost roles in the Government this summer – Penning was previously Armed Forces Minister and Syms was a Whip. Iain Dale wrote for ConservativeHome at the time about his surprise that Penning had been let go, given his strong performance in a range of often challenging ministerial roles.

It’s perhaps not overly cynical to conclude that, in addition to recognising their public service, these honours are intended to soften the blow somewhat, at a time when the Commons arithmetic makes it particularly important to ensure the happiness of as many Conservative MPs as possible.