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Rishi’s favourite author gets her damehood

Photo by Jacob King - WPA Pool/Getty Images

It’s gongs galore today as Liz Truss’s resignation honours’ list is published alongside the traditional new years’ one. And while the former is attracting more comment than the latter, Mr S couldn’t help but note the inclusion of one Tory favourite. The Prime Minister is a well-known lover of a Jilly Cooper bonkbuster – so it’s perhaps no surprise that the Riders author finally gets her damehood. Others from the world of the arts on the list include Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis, who receives a knighthood, Leona Lewis gets an OBE while Shirley Bassey joins the Companion of Honour.

Naturally though, the focus of Westminster is on those recipients who work in SW1. Former Chancellor Sajid Javid receives a knighthood – some consolation perhaps on never winning the ultimate prize. Karen Bradley of Northern Ireland fame gets a damehood, with a hattrick of Tory knights created in David Davis, Liam Fox and Jeremy Quin. It means that every sitting Tory MP elected prior to 1997 has now been given a knighthood – bar unlucky Nigel Evans. On the Labour side, Dame Margaret Beckett has her damehood upgraded to a Dame Grand Cross while Siobhain McDonagh is made a Dame Commander. More junior gongs go to Yvonne Fovargue, Maggie Throup and Mark Garnier.

But with so many honours now been given out for political service, are they now losing their lustre? The Hansard order page seems to increasingly resemble King Arthur’s Camelot, boasting more knights than the Round Table. Indeed, of the 350 sitting Conservative MPs, almost one in seven now has a title with 41 ‘Sirs’ and seven ‘Dames.’ Not for nothing have the two main WhatsApp groups of Tory MPs been relatively silent this past 24 hours, compared to the usual chorus of congratulation that greets such gongs…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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