By Alex Stevenson
Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes can expect an unprecedented honours haul to add to their medals.
The prime minister has bowed to pressure from the Labour party, Boris Johnson and figures like Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Colin Moynihan, the outgoing head of the British Olympic Association, to give the stars of London 2012 their own honours list.
Under normal rules sport personalities receive significantly fewer honours than civil servants. Jonathan Stephens, the senior civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, warned there would be no "automatic gongs" for Team GB and Paralympic GB members.
But in an Olympic year of sporting and political success for Britain Downing Street has opted to change the rules. Stars like Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, as well as Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds, can now all hope for recognition as a result.
A source told the Telegraph newspaper: "They will be dealt with separately as it has been an exceptional year."
Cameron's decision may go some way towards placating City Hall, whose mayor has become increasingly hostile to the coalition government over the possibility of a third runway at Heathrow.
Johnson's spokesperson said last month: “The Mayor would argue that the courage, skill and sheer determination that propelled our heroes to gold in the first place, coupled with the immeasurable legacy their stellar performances have brought to millions, more than demonstrates they’ve put something back.”
The move may also prove a partial smokescreen for the additional four knighthoods already awarded to outgoing ministers following this week's reshuffle.
MPs have been angered by the move to sweeten the pill of leaving the government for one Liberal Democrat and three Conservative ex-ministers, who were fired in this week's reshuffle.
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By Alex Stevenson
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