Skip to main content

Theresa May's honours for Barwell, Boycott and Mann slammed over controversies

THE auntie of 12-year-old Grenfell fire victim Jessica Urbano Ramirez slammed yesterday’s “absolutely disgraceful” award of a peerage to former housing minister Gavin Barwell.

Ana Ospina argued that Mr Barwell had “repeatedly ignored letters regarding fire safety” from MPs before the horrific June 2017 blaze that killed 72 people.

She criticised his appointment to the House of Lords — before the inquiry into the fire concludes — and the £300 a day plus expenses that, as a peer, he will receive for life.

It was revealed in June that Mr Barwell — who at the time was then prime minister Theresa May’s chief of staff — had been sent warnings to review fire safety rules in the months leading up to Grenfell.

Documents obtained by Inside Housing showed that, as housing minister, he had failed to reply to the seven letters or meet the MPs who raised the concerns in 2016 and 2017.

Ms May’s resignation honours roll also lists cricketer Geoffrey Boycott for a knighthood. Labour has called on PM Boris Johnson to rescind the knighthood over the former Yorkshire and England batsman’s domestic violence conviction and his response to the backlash over the award.

In 2017, in response to a question about why he had not been knighted, Mr Boycott claimed that honours were dished out “like confetti” to West Indies cricketers and that he would need to “black up” to receive one. He later apologised for his remarks.

But he shows no remorse for his 1998 conviction by a French court for battering his then partner. When questioned on the Today programme about the criticism of his knighthood, Mr Boycott replied: “I couldn’t give a toss.”

Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler said his knighthood was “an insult to victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

It was also announced that John Mann would receive a peerage — the day after he said he was standing down as a Labour MP to work for the Tories as the government’s full-time “anti-semitism tsar.”

His time in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn was spent accusing the leader of anti-semitism. The independent watchdog on Lords appointments warned that his peerage would “set a dangerous precedent” and “could be seen as a bribe,” the Times reported yesterday.

Left-wing news reporting analysis group Media Lens said his peerage “exemplifies the sickly, wretched, unprincipled dark side of British politics.”

Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was also awarded a peerage. When contacted by the Star, the party said: “Like [Green peer] Jenny Jones, Natalie is going into the Lords to see it abolished as soon as possible.”


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 3,787
We need:£ 14,213
28 Days remaining
Donate today