Top Labour donors would not get ‘automatic pass’ to honours, party chair says

Major Labour donors would not get an “automatic pass” to receiving honours if the party wins power, its chairwoman said as she criticised Rishi Sunak for recommending a knighthood for a top Tory backer.

Businessman Mohamed Mansour – who gave £5 million to the Tories in 2023 and is a senior treasurer at the party – was knighted for business, charity and political service.

Four Conservative MPs were also given gongs in a surprise honours list slipped out while Parliament was in recess and on the eve of the Easter bank holiday weekend.

But she did not rule out Labour donors receiving honours if Sir Keir Starmer’s party wins the general election this year.

Asked the question, she told Sky News: “It shouldn’t be an automatic pass through from somebody who’s made a huge donation to a political party then being rewarded in that manner.

“I think the concern here is we have a man who, at the time last January, had given the biggest ever donation to the Conservative Party. That was £5 million last January, and now he’s being honoured by the Prime Minister.”

Senior No 10 sources pointed to Sir Mohamed’s charitable work and record of public service, including support for The Prince’s Foundation – now The King’s Foundation – and a major contributor to St Paul’s Cathedral’s Remember Me project, which raised money for a physical memorial to those who died of Covid-19 in the UK.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has handed a knighthood to billionaire Mohamed Mansour (Danny Lawson/PA)

She said Labour has learned from the cash-for-honours controversy under Tony Blair, who was questioned three times as part of a police probe into the alleged sale of peerages in 2006.

“Those lessons have been learned,” Ms Dodds told GB News.

“We think it’s really important that we have a system that is beyond public questioning and reproach. And I’m afraid what Rishi Sunak has done here is not beyond that public questioning and reproach.”

“I think I’ve probably had the same response as many members of the public. A response of astonishment. You either would feel that perhaps Rishi Sunak is so arrogant that he doesn’t mind any more what the public think, or perhaps he’s demob-happy, he believes that he’s on the way out.”

The timing of the announcement has raised eyebrows – although sources said it was linked to the need to make appointments to the Privy Council, including the new First Minister of Wales Vaughan Gething.

Other recipients of honours included Philip Davies – whose wife is the Government’s “common sense” minister Esther McVey – who has been knighted for public and parliamentary service.

Esther McVey and Philip Davies
Couple Esther McVey and Philip Davies used to present a show on GB News together (PA)

Farming minister Mark Spencer was given a knighthood, while Treasury Select Committee chairwoman Harriett Baldwin became a dame.

Democratic Unionist Party MP Gregor Campbell was made a CBE.

The Prime Minister recommended the honours to the King.

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