Congratulations to all those included in the New Year’s Honours list. In particular to the Conservative MPs who have been recognised for long-standing service. More than ever, one is left baffled as to why anyone would put themselves forward to stand for Parliament given the level of intrusion and abuse that is routinely experienced. If these awards provide some encouragement to MPs – and their long suffering families – that is welcome.
Sir Graham Brady is given a knighthood. He has been the MP for Altrincham and Sale West since 1997 and Chairman of the 1922 Committee since 2010. No doubt he would have been a Minister had he not resigned as Shadow Europe Minister in 2007 in protest at an attack on grammar schools.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has been the MP for the Cotswold since 1997. “Votes for life” for British citizens abroad is among the many worthwhile causes he has championed.
Dame Cheryl Gillan has been the Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham since 1992. Born in Cardiff she has served in the Cabinet as Welsh Secretary and is a staunch opponent of the High Speed 2 project.
Sir Chris Chope, also knighted, is the Conservative MP for Christchurch and earlier for Southampton Itchen. He served as a Minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major but has subsequently been the most independent minded of backbenchers. Few have been more fearless in challenging legislative proposals – notably private members’ bills. They might be well intentioned and have the backing of fashionable lobby groups but if Chope could spot unintended consequences then they would usually be for the chop.
Both Sir Geoffrey and Dame Cheryl serve alongside Sir Graham on the 1922 Committee. This has not gone unnoticed in terms of Theresa May’s need to maintain the support of her Parliamentary colleagues. But the “cronyism” charge can not be applied to this list in terms of rewarding those making donations to Party funds – a charge levelled routinely at her predecessors for many years.
Special congratulations also to:
- Professor Anthony O’Hear on his OBE
- David Melding AM who has been made CBE
- Cllr Morris Bright, Leader of Hertsmere Council on his MBE
- Councillor Geoffrey Evans, Cornwall Councillor on his MBE
- Dr Patricia Moore, Regional Chairman, South West of England, Conservative Party on her OBE
- Peter Stabbings, Lately Regional Chairman, East of England, Conservative Party on his OBE.