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Boris Johnson rewards allies, and hairstylist, with distinction as critics lash out



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London – Dozens of allies of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received tributes from King Charles III on Friday, a list that prompted cries of nepotism from opponents of the ousted leader.

The “honour of resignation,” awarded by the monarch but chosen by the government, is a well-established but controversial way for departed commanders to reward loyal lieutenants.

Johnson granted lifetime seats in Parliament’s unelected upper house, the House of Lords, to several ex-chancellors, and awarded knights or blood to loyalist legislators including former government ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel.


Aides, other lawmakers and Tory figures received lower honors. The list includes several employees implicated in the Partygate scandal over illegal gatherings in government buildings during the pandemic, including former Johnson aides Martin Reynolds and Shelley Williams-Walker.

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, said Johnson had rewarded “a group of close friends”.

“Instead of addressing the cost-of-living crisis, the Tories are spending their time handing out rewards to those who tried to cover up the rule-breaking and manipulation of a disgraced former prime minister,” she said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said, as is customary, that the current leader did not intrude on his predecessor’s list of honors.

Among the shaggy-haired Johnson’s political allies, one name stood out on the list: Kelly eludethe long serving manager of Parliament’s in-house hairdressing salon, has been awarded the Medal of the British Empire.


One name missing from the list is former culture secretary Nadine Dorries, a staunch Johnson supporter who was widely tipped to enter the House of Lords. She was not on the list but announced on Friday that she had resigned as deputy, effective immediately. There will be a special election to take her seat in the House of Commons.

Patronage issues are particularly sensitive around Johnson, who left office in September 2022 when scandals involving money, morals and governance pitted Conservative MPs against him.

Conservative predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron also delivered honors when they left office in 2019 and 2016 respectively. But the Labor prime ministers before them, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, did not use this measure.

Johnson, whose career has been riddled with scandals and comebacks, led the Conservatives to a landslide victory in 2019 but was forced out by his party less than three years later.

He remains a lawmaker, and is awaiting the outcome of an inquiry by the House of Commons Standards Committee into misleading statements he made to parliament about a large number of gatherings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 that breached pandemic lockdown rules.


Police eventually issued 126 fines for late night parties, wild parties and “wine time Fridays”, including one for Johnson, and the scandal helped hasten the end of his premiership.

The committee is expected to publish its report in the next few weeks. If it concludes that Johnson knowingly lied, he could face suspension from the House of Commons. A suspension of 10 days or more would allow his constituents to petition a special election to replace Johnson as an MP.

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