David Cameron accused of rewarding "old boys' network" in row over knighthoods

Theresa May will not intervene in her predecessor's resignation honours list

david cameron

David Cameron waves as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London last month | Photo: PA Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not intervene in a row over David Cameron's honours list.

Mr Cameron was accused of misuse of the system after a leak of his resignation honours list showed he was seeking to reward 48 Tory donors, allies and aides, including his wife's assistant and stylist.

Former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Sir Alistair Graham said it would "add a bit of a nasty, tawdry gloss" to Mr Cameron's failure to win the EU referendum.

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said Mrs May should act to block the nominations saying it represented the worst of the "old boys' network".

He told Sky News Mrs May should act to clean up the system and that the honours system was not designed to repay "your mates" by showering them with rewards "like confetti".

However, the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said Mrs May would not interfere in decisions of the honours committees, which are independent of Downing Street.

"It would set a very bad precedent for a new prime minister to interfere in the official process," she said.

Convention

According to The Sunday Times, Mr Cameron has recommended knighthoods for four pro-EU cabinet colleagues: Philip Hammond, Michael Fallon, Patrick McLoughlin, and David Lidington.

He has also requested a companion of honour award for former chancellor George Osborne - only ever awarded to 65 others - it has been claimed.

It has been reported that Will Straw, head of the failed pro-Remain campaign, has been put forward for a CBE, and that more than 20 Downing Street staff were proposed for awards.

Those said to be in the running for an OBE include Isabel Spearman, who helped Samantha Cameron with her diary and outfits for various engagements, and Thea Rogers, Mr Osborne's closest aide who is credited with overhauling his image.

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

These are the first resignation honours since Sir John Major - neither Tony Blair or Gordon Brown resignation honours, although Mr Brown published a dissolution list.

It is convention that current prime ministers do not block the nominations of their predecessors.