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Queen honours privateers in New Year awards

THE Queen will award knighthoods to at least three pioneers of privatisation according to the New Years honours list, which was revealed today.

Tory MP John Redwood, who headed up Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit and “developed privatisation,” is among 20 people scheduled to receive the title.

Mr Redwood claims his ideas were originally seen as “wacky” and that he had to convince Ms Thatcher to sell off Britain’s water, rail and telecom services.

Another controversial appointment is London Stock Exchange chairman Donald Brydon. He previously spent six years at the helm of Royal Mail, where he oversaw its privatisation.

A subsequent inquiry found that the sell-off could at least have bagged taxpayers an extra £180 million if the service’s shares had not been priced so low.

The government put up more than half of Royal Mail for sale at 330p a share, provoking an outcry when, on the first day of trading, the price quickly rose by 38 per cent. They later peaked at 615p.

A third knighthood is going to James Leigh-Pemberton, an old Etonian and City financier. He oversaw the government’s sale of Lloyds Banking Group in 2017.

The National Audit Office (NAO) believes taxpayers lost out on nearly £6 billion from the re-privatisation of Lloyds. The bank was bailed out by the government during the 2008 financial crash.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that the government appeared to sell off the Lloyds shares “on the cheap.”

Scotland's richest woman, Ann Gloag, will be made a dame. Ms Gloag is a notorious union-buster who made her fortune by  co-founding the Stagecoach group.

Her business empire flourished during the deregulation and privatisation of Britain’s transport network.

Although business leaders, politicians and diplomats feature prominently on the honours list, seven firefighters from Hertfordshire will be recognised with Queen’s Gallantry Awards.

They have been commended for their “exceptional bravery in rescuing elderly and vulnerable residents from a quickly escalating fire in a care home in Cheshunt in 2017.”

Two people died and 33 others had to be rescued when the Newgrange Care Home went up in flames.

Community union general secretary Roy Rickhuss is also being recognised for his “services to the steel industry.”

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