Osborne, Gadhia Honored by Cameron on Resigning as U.K. Premier

  • Thirteen new Conservative peers created; one new Labour member
  • Tory MPs Swire, Fallon, Letwin, Spelman, McLoughlin honored

David Cameron conferred honors and peerages on dozens of aides and Conservative Party donors, including former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Jitesh Gadhia, a former senior managing director at Blackstone Group, according to lists of the U.K. prime minister’s resignation honors published on the government website on Thursday.

Osborne was made a Companion of Honor, an order rewarding achievement in politics, industry, science and the arts that’s limited to just 65 at any one time. Current members include former prime minister John Major, and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Other lawmakers honored include Defense Secretary Michael Fallon who was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and former foreign office minister Hugo Swire, who was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael & St. George. Both will be able to use the title "Sir" as a prefix to their names.

Gadhia was awarded a peerage, giving him a vote in Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords. Currently a board member of U.K. Financial Investments, which manages U.K. government stakes in banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Gadhia has donated more that 200,000 pounds ($262,000) to the Conservatives since 2009, according to the Electoral Commission. Peerages were also awarded to Cameron’s former director of external relations, Gabrielle Bertin, his former chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, his former head of operations, Liz Sugg, and to Camilla Cavendish, who headed his policy unit.

Balance Shifted

The list will shift the balance in the House of Lords, where Cameron lost several votes in recent years, because it names 13 new Tory peers, compared with just one addition for the opposition Labour Party -- Shami Chakrabarti, former director of human rights group Liberty, and author recently of a report into anti-semitism in Labour. The honors also did little to dispel accusations of cronyism that followed the leaking of the preliminary list by the Sunday Times.

“David Cameron’s resignation honors list is so full of cronies it would embarrass a medieval court,” Tim Farron, leader of Cameron’s former coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, said in an e-mailed statement. “He is not the first prime minister to leave office having rewarded quite so many friends, but he should be the last. For the reputation of future leaders, such appointments should be handed over to an independent panel."

The Scottish National Party, the third biggest group in Parliament, said Cameron’s list shows the U.K. honors system is “rotten to the core.”

Conservative Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Cameron’s former director of communications, Craig Oliver, and former Tory minister Oliver Letwin were awarded knighthoods, while former environment secretary Caroline Spelman was made a dame. Cameron’s former spokeswoman, Helen Bower, was made a Commander of the British Empire, or CBE. A civil servant, Bower stayed on to become new Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokeswoman.

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