Ex-Downing Street PR chiefs could be blocked from honours in 'cronyism' row

Three senior former press aides to David Cameron have been named by The Times today among a list of his close allies that the Cabinet Office could reportedly block from receiving honours.

Potential honours for ex-Downing Street PRs under scrutiny (Credit: BellPhotography423/Thinkstock)
Potential honours for ex-Downing Street PRs under scrutiny (Credit: BellPhotography423/Thinkstock)

The paper reports this morning that senior officials in the Cabinet Office have taken the action because of fears over the suitability of the candidates for inclusion in the ex-PM's 'resignation honours'.

The article says Downing Street’s director of external comms Gabby Bertin and head of strategic comms Laura Trott could get peerages, while director of comms Craig Oliver is likely to receive an honour. It is unclear whether they will still be included in the list, or will now be excluded.

The same three individuals were also reported to be in line for honours by The Telegraph last week.

Other people who Cameron reportedly wants to receive honours include his former chief of staff Ed Llewellyn and Camilla Cavendish, previously head of his policy unit.

The episode risks another row over ‘cronyism’ in the Government, according to The Times, which quotes a source "with knowledge of the process" saying: "David Cameron has put forward a number of names. Some of them did not even make it past the first hurdle – the Cabinet Office."

The former Prime Minister’s list has reportedly irritated some figures in the Conservative Party because it focuses on Cameron’s friends rather than party donors.

The Cabinet Office press office had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication. The Downing Street press team declined to comment, referring PRWeek to the Cabinet Office.

Oliver, Bertin and Trott left their roles in Downing Street when Cameron departed last week.

Theresa May’s new press team includes Katie Perrior, formerly Boris Johnson’s PR, as director of comms, and Fiona Hill, a former special adviser to May in the Home Office who joined Lexington Communications as a director last autumn, as joint chief of staff.

• Blatant cronyism or well-deserved: what’s your view about honours being given to former Downing Street PR chiefs? Let us know your views by emailing john.harrington@haymarket.com.

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