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DAVID CAMERON was accused yesterday of “abusing” the honours system yesterday after revealing plans to dish out knighthoods to three Tory pals leaving the government.
Axed ex-ministers Alan Duncan, Hugh Robertson and Oliver Heald are all in line to be nominated for sympathy honours by the Prime Minister.
Mr Robertson and and Mr Duncan are set to take on the archaic titles of “Knights Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George,” according to the Evening Standard.
Veteran Tory Ken Clarke is also in line to land an award held by Elizabeth Windsor and just 65 others at any one time — the Companion of Honour.
A Downing Street spokesman was refusing to comment on the reports.
But Mr Cameron appeared to give the game away under pressure yesterday at Prime Ministers Questions.
Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds asked the PM if he had “given more knighthoods to men that he has sacked than he has given Cabinet jobs to women?”
And Mr Cameron replied: “I make no apology for saying that I think in public life we should recognise public service, people who have worked hard, people who have contributed to our nation, contributed to our government.
“I think that is a good thing to do.”
Shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said patronage for Mr Cameron’s “old boys club” shows how out-of-touch he is.
“If these reports are true, it would show David Cameron undermining not just the honours system but women who have served in his government,” he said.
“Dishing out hush-hush honours and gongs as golden goodbyes, just to keep his sacked ministers happy also shows how weak Cameron is.”
Labour also pointed out that Mr Cameron failed to meet his own target of ensuring the Cabinet is at least one-third female.
Less than a quarter of the Cabinet are women despite the promotion of Liz Truss, Nicky Morgan, Esther McVey and Tory Lords leader Baroness Stowell to the Cabinet.
“David Cameron made big claims about promoting women but as usual his actions don’t match his words,” said shadow women’s minister Gloria De Piero.
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