Praise for stars who made Honours list

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Media captionFamous names from music, drama, science and sport are among the 1,123 people named on the 2018 honours list

Those listed in the New Year Honours have been praised, with Sir Paul McCartney congratulating “best drummer, best pal” Ringo Starr on his award.

The Beatles drummer joins Bee Gee Barry Gibb in being knighted, while Strictly judge Darcey Bussell is made a dame.

Musical writer Sir Tim Rice said Sir Ringo’s honour was “most overdue” and hailed Sir Barry’s “staggering gifts”.

Dame Darcey is “an incredible ambassador for dance”, choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne said.

Former Royal Ballet principal Dame Darcey, said she was “truly humbled”.

Sir Barry also said he felt “humbled and very proud” about his knighthood for services to music and charity.

Made a CBE in 2002 alongside his late brothers and Bee Gees bandmates, Maurice and Robin, Sir Barry said: “It is as much theirs as it is mine.”

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Image caption Sir Barry Gibb paid tribute to his late brothers

Sir Ringo’s honour for services to music – given under his real name, Richard Starkey – comes 20 years after Paul McCartney was knighted, and adds to the 1965 MBE received by all four Beatles.

The Los Angeles-based musician said: “It’s great! It’s an honour and a pleasure to be considered and acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love. Peace and love.”

There are 1,123 people named on the main honours list issued by the Cabinet Office, with 70% recognised for work in their communities in a voluntary or paid capacity.

Officials said future lists would see honours for “inspirational action” by people following the Grenfell Tower fire and the terror attacks in London and Manchester.

With one of the highest honours, Helen Sharman joins the Order of St Michael and St George – 26 years after becoming the first British astronaut with her journey to the Soviet Mir Space Station.

Her new CMG is for services to education in science and technology.

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Media captionHelen Sharman: “It really is a great honour and I’m absolutely thrilled”

There is also a CBE for Prof Michele Dougherty from Imperial College, London, a member of the Cassini mission to Saturn.

In other areas, Alexandra Shulman, who recently stood down as editor of British Vogue after 25 years; actor Hugh Laurie; and leading artificial intelligence researcher Demis Hassabis are made CBEs.

Political ‘cronyism’ claims

In politics, ex-Deputy PM Nick Clegg, who lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in the general election, is knighted for political and public service alongside several former and serving MPs, while fellow Lib Dem Jo Swinson is made a CBE.

The former deputy PM said he was “grateful” for the knighthood, adding his “aversion to unelected legislatures remains”.

However, the honours granted to politicians have prompted criticism, with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of rewarding “services to the establishment”.

Mrs May has also faced an outcry over honours awarded to three members of the influential Conservative 1922 committee – a backbench group who would play a key role in any future leadership contest.

The chairman of the committee, Graham Brady, received a knighthood, alongside committee treasurer Geoffrey Clifton Brown, while vice chairwoman Cheryl Gillan has been made a dame.

All three backed the Brexit campaign during the EU referendum.

Mr Brady has the power to sanction a leadership contest – triggered if 15% of the party’s MPs – 48 at present – write to him requesting one.

SNP MP Peter Grant said honours for political service were “often bribes for future loyalty”, while Labour MP Jack Dromey claimed the Prime Minister had “handed out honours to cronies”.

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Image caption MP Cheryl Gillan and former Deputy PM Nick Clegg make the list

However, the honours committees who decide recipients are independent.

Labour MP Mark Hendrick has been knighted alongside Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, to which fellow Labour MP Thelma Walker said: “No one is more deserving of this honour”.

Polling expert and political scientist John Curtice, who has received a knighthood, was praised as a “national treasure” by former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown.

‘Blown away’

Elsewhere, author and historian Lady Antonia Fraser and broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg join the elite Companions of Honour.

And there is an OBE for ITV’s This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes, who said “2018 will be my 38th year as a broadcaster and I can’t think of a better way of marking that”.

Author Jilly Cooper and TV chef Rick Stein become CBEs.

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Image caption Heather Knight lifted the World Cup trophy at Lord’s in July

Cricketer Heather Knight said she was “blown away” by her OBE, which follows England’s World Cup victory over India at Lord’s in July.

The team’s head coach Mark Robinson becomes an OBE, and player of the tournament Tammy Beaumont and player of the final Anya Shrubsole are made MBEs.

Other sporting honours include OBEs for British and Irish Lions rugby captain Sam Warburton and an MBE for Paralympic athlete Stefanie Reid.

The trainer of the Queen’s racehorses, Nicky Henderson, is made a Royal Victorian Order Lieutenant.

Five people involved in Hull’s City of Culture are recognised, including chief executive Martin Green with a CBE.

The “godfather of Grime” Richard Cowie, aka Wiley, said of his MBE for services to music: “It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get but now I’m finally there.”

Grace Ladoja, who manages another grime star, Skepta, receives the same honour.

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo has been knighted for services to literature and charity.

He says his knighthood gives him a platform to advance one of his main passions: “The opportunity to talk about children’s literature and how really important that is to our young people growing up today.”

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Image caption Recognised: Ken Olisa, Lynne Franks, Helen Sharman

There is a knighthood for services to social sciences and politics for the University of Strathclyde’s Prof John Curtice, a familiar face on television for his election polling analysis.

Meanwhile, there is an an OBE for PR consultant Lynne Franks for services to business, fashion and women’s empowerment, and tech investor Ken Olisa – named Britain’s most influential black person in 2015 – is knighted for services to business and philanthropy.

Married couple Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, and Nicholas Wheeler, of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, are made OBEs for services to retail, while TV chef Rick Stein, is honoured for services to the economy.

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Media captionJilly Cooper: CBE unexpected

Honours for people in the health sector make up 10% of the list and include a CBE for Prof Caroline Dive, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

About 11% of recipients work in education, with a CBE for Judith Doyle, principal of Gateshead College, and recognition for nine head teachers.

Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey – acting chief at the time of March’s Westminster terror attack – is knighted.

‘Special feeling’

Other recipients include teacher David Canning, who heads a cross-community project in Northern Ireland, and Aina Khan, from Hertfordshire, who works to protect women and children in unregistered marriages. Both are made OBEs.

Ms Khan said “never in a million years” would she expect an OBE.

“When the envelope arrives it’s a really special feeling, because you realise it’s actually something that’s real and happens to ordinary people,” she added.

The youngest person on the list is Lucia Mee, 18, from Antrim, who has had three liver transplants after being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, and receives a BEM for promoting awareness about organ donation.

The honours system

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  • Companion of Honour – Recipients wear the initials CH after their name. Limited to 65 people
  • CMG – Order of St Michael & St George
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM – British Empire Medal

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