Knighthood for Lynton Crosby as UK PR pros make New Year Honours list

The Cabinet Office has confirmed reports that Lynton Crosby, the political strategist behind the Conservative's 2015 general election campaign, has been awarded a knighthood, as it's revealed that a number of comms professionals have been included in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

Lynton Crosby: Knighthood for "political service" causes controversy
Lynton Crosby: Knighthood for "political service" causes controversy

The government has come under fire for 'cronyism' through the honours system following the release of the list this morning, with the Independent saying almost 30 "Tory Party members or supporters" have received awards.

Among the most prominent is Crosby, former Conservative Party campaign director, who is to be knighted for "political service".

Opposition politicians have been quick to criticise the move.

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham said: "This outrageous award is the clearest evidence yet that the Tories think they can get away with whatever they like. It is a timely reminder that Labour must make it a New Year’s resolution to stop facing inwards and expose them for what they are."

Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock defended the decision on BBC Radio 4's The World at One, calling Crosby "a great public servant". "Political service, I think, is part of public service. People who make a contribution to our democratic process make a public service. There is a long history of political service being recognised as part of public service."

Elsewhere, Lyndy Payne, who founded the Advertising Agency Register and was also a founding member of Women in Advertising and Communications London, has been made an OBE.

The same honour has gone to Sharon Blackburn, policy and communications director at the National Care Forum, for services to nursing and the not-for-profit care sector.

Louise Third, director of Nottingham-based media relations and marketing consultancy Integra Communications, has been made an OBE for services to enterprise and charity.

And Conrad Bird, director of the GREAT Britain campaign, becomes an OBE for services to UK government communications and trade.

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