London- One month after handing out his tasks for Theresa May and leaving 10 Downing Street, David Cameron returned to dominate British newspapers’ headlines after being accused of cronyism.
Cameron has been accused of using his final honors list for “personal gain” after a leaked version suggested he was rewarding friends, Downing Street staff and members of the failed Remain campaign.
The leaked list shows that the former Prime Minister has applied to reward 48 Tory donors, personal aides and a range of supporters who campaigned to keep Britain inside the EU.
It also reveals that four Cabinet ministers – David Lidington, Patrick McLoughlin, Philip Hammond and Michael Fallon – could be rewarded with knighthoods.
The honors scandal was ignited on Sunday when the list of 48 names was leaked, including Cameron’s former diary planner and stylist Isabel Spearman and George Osborne’s aide Thea Rogers.
George Osborne, the former Chancellor and one of Cameron’s closest political allies during his six-year tenure in Downing Street, will, according to “The Sunday Times”, become a Companion of Honor.
Ian Taylor and Andrew Cook, both significant Tory donors who contributed to the Remain campaign funds, will reportedly receive knighthoods when the list is approved.
From the civil service Helen Bower, the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman, has been nominated for a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Labor’s deputy leader Tom Watson said: “I hope Theresa May is not going to stake her reputation on David Cameron’s old boys’ network.
Cameron’s proposal to reward his friends’ network on such a huge scale will not only bring the honors system into disrepute but also will undermine the reputation of Theresa May.
“It’s cronyism, pure and simple and proof the Tories will always put their own interests before those of the country,” Watson added.
Although the outgoing prime minister is entitled to publish an honors list on leaving No. 10, neither Gordon Brown nor Tony Blair chose to do so.
The list is expected to be approved by the honors committee after being checked for propriety in the coming weeks.
Theresa May and her allies are expected to come under pressure to ensure that there are no concerns that the honors system is being abused.
A senior minister who asked not to be named said on Sunday night that Cameron’s list would provoke anger among backbench MPs and Leave-supporting Conservative members.
The minister said: “I don’t object to the outgoing prime minister giving rewards to people who have given long service in his office but to think that people may have been influenced on their position in the referendum in a bid to be rewarded or that people like Will Straw, who have done nothing to help the Prime Minister and have probably done more to harm the Conservative Party in government, devalues the system and will make a lot of people very angry.”