• Saturday, April 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak’s surprise honours list angers opposition

The list comes as a surprise because honours are usually published by the UK Cabinet Office at New Year and on the King’s official birthday in June.

File photo of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Paul Ellis/Pool via REUTERS

By: Shajil Kumar

PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak is being criticised by Opposition parties for a surprise honours list which confers a knighthood on an Egyptian-born businessman who is a major donor to the Conservative Party.

The list, announced late on Thursday just before the long Easter weekend, honours Mohamed Mansour, a senior treasurer for the Tory party, for his business, charity and political service.

Further recommendations from Sunak to King Charles III include knighthoods for other senior Tories – Farming Minister Mark Spencer and Conservative MP Philip Davies – as well as damehoods for former ministers Tracey Crouch and Harriett Baldwin.

Oscar-winning ‘Oppenheimer’ filmmaker Christopher Nolan and his producer wife, Emma Thomas, are also on the list for a knighthood and damehood for services to the film industry.

“This is either the arrogant act of an entitled man who’s stopped caring what the public thinks, or the demob-happy self-indulgence of someone who doesn’t expect to be Prime Minister much longer. Either way, it shows a blatant disrespect for the office he should feel privileged to hold,” said Labour Party chairperson Anneliese Dodds.

The list comes as a surprise because honours are usually published by the UK Cabinet Office at New Year and on the King’s official birthday in June. They are based on recommendations from the Prime Minister’s office and conferred in the name of the British monarch.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Sunak has once again shown just how out of touch he is by handing out gongs to donors bankrolling his party who have plunged the economy into a recession.”

Downing Street sources pointed to Mohamed Mansour’s extensive public and charity service, including his support for the Prince’s Foundation, now the King’s Foundation.

“This award is the greatest honour of my life. I am thrilled and hugely grateful,” said Mansour. “This award would have meant so much to my father and mother. I wish they could have lived to see this day,” he added.

Mansour is the chairman of the Mansour Group and founded the London-based investment firm Man Capital.

Meanwhile, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Gregory Campbell and Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive officer of Netflix, received CBEs in the honours list.

Tech experts Dr Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder of AI firm Google DeepMind, Matthew Clifford, a government adviser on artificial intelligence, and Ian Hogarth, chair of the AI Safety Institute, have also received honours. (PTI)

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