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Backlash means David Cameron's honours list will be last: Northern Ireland peer Lord Bew

By Noel McAdam

Published 08/08/2016

Hitting out: Lord Bew
Hitting out: Lord Bew

David Cameron's controversial resignation list of honours will be the last, a senior Northern Ireland academic who is the Government's ethics adviser has predicted.

Lord Bew, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the "public outcry" would help ensure there will be no similar lists in future.

The professor of Irish politics at Queen's University added: "The last two Prime Ministers before David Cameron haven't done it.

"I would be amazed if Theresa May does one." In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Lord Bew went on: "There are distinguished public servants on this list, but even so I think this has to be the last one, given the public outcry."

His comments came as new analysis from academics confirmed that in his time as Prime Minister Mr Cameron created lifetime peerages at a quicker rate than any Prime Minister in history.

Although he supported reform of the House of Lords, the former Conservative Party leader nominated 245 peers during his time in office, which works out at an average of 39 a year.

Lord Bew, who was also an adviser to the former First Minister Lord Trimble, said: "I just think it's over now. If there was another list, it would provoke another heated row."

Emphasising he was speaking in a personal capacity, he added: "A peerage is a job, it is not an honour. When I joined the Lords I was told we were on route to becoming that. We haven't progressed as quickly along that path as I hoped."

Among those honoured by Mr Cameron were former Chancellor George Osborne, who was made a Companion of Honour, while knighthoods were awarded to Oliver Letwin and Patrick McLoughlin among 13 Tory MPs.

Will Straw, executive director of the Britain Stronger in Europe group, which led the failed EU Remain campaign, became a CBE for political and public service.

Mr Cameron's ex-spin doctor Craig Oliver and Samantha Cameron's adviser Isabel Spearman were also on the list of 48 former colleagues and allies.

There have been reports that Mrs May wants to draw a line under the row by moving towards a more accountable honours system as part of a drive to restore public trust in politics.

Lord Bew also appeared to hit out at those who enter the House of Lords but fail to contribute to public life, insisting that a peerage must be a "job" and not an "honour".

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