Ousted prime minister allowed a resignation honours list despite lasting just 49 days in Downing Street
Liz Truss leaving the Tory party conference in October 2023. Rishi Sunak had been urged to block her honours list.
Ousted prime minister Liz Truss has been allowed to confer a host of honours and three new peerages – including for one of the architects of Brexit, for a Tory donor and for her former deputy chief of staff.
Truss was granted a “resignation honours” list by Rishi Sunak, despite having to resign from No 10 after only 49 days because of turmoil in the financial markets caused by her chancellor’s mini-budget.
She was given the privilege of choosing three new lawmakers for the House of Lords: Matthew Elliott, who helped set up the Vote Leave campaign; Jon Moynihan, a businessman, party donor and chair of Vote Leave; and Ruth Porter, her former deputy chief of staff.
Moynihan has given about £700,000 to the Conservatives, Vote Leave and Truss’s own leadership campaign altogether.
The Truss lists also includes damehoods for Shirley Conran, of the Maths Anxiety Trust, and for Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price, plus a knighthood for Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke.
Former Truss advisers Shabbir Merali and Sophie Jarvis will get CBEs, while Tory MPs Rob Butler and Suzanne Webb will get OBEs. David Hills, chair of the Conservative association in South West Norfolk, Truss’s constituency, gets an MBE.
Sunak had been urged to block Truss’s honours list, with the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jonathan Ashworth, saying: “This list is proof positive of Rishi Sunak’s weakness and a slap in the face to working people who are paying the price of the Tories crashing the economy.
“Honours should be for those committed to public service, not rewards for Tory failure.
“Rather than apologise for crashing the economy and driving up mortgage rates, costing families thousands, Rishi Sunak has nodded through these tarnished gongs because he is too weak to lead a Tory party completely out of touch with working people.”
A government source said: “Every past Labour prime minister has issued a dissolution or resignation list – this is a longstanding and ongoing convention. The convention is the incumbent prime minister does not block the political peerage proposals of others.”
Sunak has had the list for many weeks but it was only sent out late on Friday afternoon to coincide with his own new year honours list – a move that prompted accusations he was trying to bury bad news.
Daisy Cooper, deputy Liberal Democrat leader, said the “shameless move to reward Liz Truss’s car-crash cronies is matched only by Sunak’s weakness in failing to block it”.
She added: “Truss handing out gongs after blowing a hole in the public finances and leaving families reeling from spiralling mortgage costs calls this whole honours system into disrepute.
“The honours system should celebrate hard-working people who have achieved great things; sullying this celebration shows just how out of touch this Conservative government really is.”
Truss said she was “delighted these champions for the conservative causes of freedom, limited government and a proud and sovereign Britain have been suitably honoured”.
In June, Sunak also attracted criticism for having approved Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, which contained more than 40 names, despite the parliamentary inquiry into whether the former prime minister misled the Commons.
Hours before Johnson announced he was quitting as an MP, accusing the investigation of trying to “drive him out”, his honours list was published.
Awards went to Johnson’s closest aides from the Covid era including an Order of the Bath for his former principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, who oversaw a garden party during lockdown restrictions in 2020.
Johnson’s list also made Charlotte Owen, a 30-year-old former aide, the youngest life peer in the upper house.