REVEALED:Leaked Memos Lay Bare Sunak’s War with Johnson over PM Gongs
Correspondence seen by Byline Times reveals all manner of advisors, relatives, friends and animals being lined up for honours by the former Prime Minister
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Almost five months since Boris Johnson stepped down, the row over his controversial ‘resignation honours’ list rumbles on.
Johnson, like any outgoing Prime Minister, is entitled to nominate colleagues for peerages and lesser awards. But while Theresa May’s list appeared two months after she left office and David Cameron’s just a week after he quit, the PM-before-last’s awards are yet to be announced.
It is no secret that, in part, this is down to the scale of his demands.
Johnson originally wanted to make more than 100 nominations – many highly controversial – and he and the current occupant of Downing Street, Rishi Sunak (who has the final say), have been engaged in an elaborate political tug-of-war since last October.
The list has now been halved to just 50 names, but to the considerable frustration of both sides. No end seems to be in sight in this ongoing squabble.
But Byline Times can reveal a series of emails and internal memos by a Whitehall insider, which lay bare the extent of the disagreement and include the names of many of those who look set to benefit from Boris Johnson’s time in office.
As has already been widely reported, Paul Dacre – Editor-in-Chief of DMG Media, which publishes the Daily Mail, the newspaper he edited for 26 years – is being lined up for a peerage, despite the appointments watchdog having previously rejected the award.
The correspondence seen by this newspaper suggests that Johnson expects to win the battle and that Dacre is anticipating taking a place on the red benches where, in the words of one Johnson loyalist, he will “finally be able to take on the influential elites and unelected politicians who tried to block our departure from the European Union”.
Others in line for the Lords include Nadine Dorries and the controversial Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lee Anderson. The memos suggest that Dorries will adopt the title Baroness Dorries of Lovely Lane, after her series of bestselling books, while famously down to earth Anderson will simply be known as Lord Anderson of Triginta in the county of Denarium.
It wouldn’t be a Boris Johnson resignation honours list without family and friends.
Despite early reports that the former PM was seeking to get his father, Stanley, a knighthood, Byline Times can now reveal that he wants to make him the Duke of Schomberg instead. The dukedom became extinct in 1713 with the death, by consumption, of Charles Schomberg but the Johnsons are distantly related via his great-great-aunt Ima Gonad.
“I see no reason why this can’t be done,” states one email from Johnson. “While no hereditary peerages have been granted since Snowden in 1961, there is no statute to prevent the appointment and anyway… the line has continued to run from the Dukes of Schomberg and my father is entitled to it as anyone else in my immediate family.”
Were Stanley to become the fourth Duke of Schomberg, the title would – in time – pass to Johnson himself.
Johnson’s former media advisor at Downing Street, Chloe Westley, is in line for a damehood, while Harry Cole, Political Editor of the Sun, gets one too.
According to the correspondence, there are also rewards for other old friends and advisors including MBEs for various SPADS; an OBE for the film director Peter Bonerz (whose Police Academy 6: City Under Siege saw Johnson “through some dark times”); CBEs for the four members of ABBA “as a thank you for the music”; and an Order of Merit (OM) for Jonathan ‘Chips’ Carrington-Ball-Whippet-Chain.
Carrington-Ball-Whippet-Chain, now an artisanal cheese-maker in Chipping Norton, was the former Prime Minister’s ‘fag’ at Eton College and is set to bag the award, the current holders of which include David Hockney, Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Tom Stoppard, for “keeping the bog seat warm in the chill winter of 1981”.
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The Order of Merit, one of the highest awards in the United Kingdom, is traditionally the gift of the monarch, but in the correspondence Johnson insists: “I’m sure HRH won’t mind if you explain what Chips did in the line of duty.”
Finally, there is the recommendation for a PDSA Dicken Medal for Dilyn, the Johnsons’ dog.
The medal was originally introduced in the Second World War for animals that had shown “conspicuous gallantry” in conflict. In the longest exchanges of correspondence seen by Byline Times, Johnson repeatedly insists that “Carrie is standing her ground on this” and that “Dilyn did everything and more (as Carrie says) to see all our successes through the pandemic”.
This last recommendation has, according to another memo, “sent Sunak completely over the f*cking edge” – but Johnson has continued to hold his ground, arguing that “Carrie says it’s a deal-breaker. Either Dilyn gets his medal or it’s nothing at all.”
Expect that row to rumble on and, in the meantime, a very happy April 1st to you all.