Former first minister and six MPs recognised in Birthday Honours

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A former first minister at Stormont and six serving MPs and have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, which have been announced ahead of the Platinum Jubilee.

Arlene Foster, the former DUP leader in Northern Ireland, former minister and Conservative MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller, and shadow minister for international trade and Labour MP for Llanelli Nia Griffith, have all been made dames in the list.

Former attorney general and Tory MP for Kenilworth and Southam Jeremy Wright, and former minister and Labour MP for East Ham Stephen Timms, have been given knighthoods.

Arlene Foster has been recognised in the list
Arlene Foster has been recognised in the list (Niall Carson/PA)

Tory MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch, who chaired the fan-led review into English football, has been made a CBE while fellow Conservatives Chris Skidmore, who represents Kingswood, and the former MP for St Ives, David Harris, have been made OBEs.

Mr Skidmore told the PA news agency: “I’m very grateful for the award for my continued work in higher education and the environment since leaving government – though don’t deserve it compared to the thousands of academics and businesses working hard to deliver on our climate commitments.

“So it’s to their recognition I dedicate the award and above all to maintaining our net zero commitments and all those who are doing an amazing job delivering on it.”

Days before he was named in the honours list, Mr Wright joined the growing number of voices calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign following the publication of the Sue Gray report into partygate.

He said on Monday events in Downing Street had caused “real and lasting damage” to the Government’s authority and that he had concluded “with regret” that Mr Johnson should go.

Several UK officials who worked in Afghanistan at the time of the evacuation also have been included in the list.

Dr Martin Longden, former Charge d’Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan, is being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the honours list.

Dr Longden was deployed to Kabul in August last year after the Taliban launched its takeover of Afghanistan and spent two weeks in the city before moving to Doha, Qatar, where he carried on his role until January.

Deputy ambassador to the British Embassy in Kabul Alexander Pinfield, who was working in Afghanistan until October 2021, has been made an OBE.

Others who were working in Afghanistan and are being honoured include development director at the embassy Andrew McCoubrey, consul general at the embassy Katrina Johnson, senior overseas manager at the embassy Jason Oliver and the embassy’s head of the counter-terrorism Gemma Paolucci.

Platinum Jubilee
Celebrations will be taking place across the UK to mark the Queen’s reign this week (Matt Alexander/PA)

Last week the Foreign Affairs Committee criticised the UK Government’s handling of the evacuation of Kabul, with former foreign secretary Dominic Raab and top civil servant Sir Philip Barton failing to return from holiday as Kabul fell being described as a “fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency”.

MPs said they were meanwhile “full of praise” for “the personnel on the ground in Afghanistan during Operation Pitting, who implemented a chaotic policy to the best of their ability.”

Nearly 20 people involved in Cop26 are also being recognised.

They include Archibald Young, lead negotiator for the UK Presidency of Cop26, and Nigel Topping, UK high-level climate action champion for Cop26, both being made Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Separately, Euan Blair, founder and chief executive of the apprenticeship company Multiverse and son of former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), for services to education.

He said: “It’s a real honour to receive this recognition, but it’s on behalf of an organisation full of people who are working tirelessly to build a truly outstanding alternative to university.”

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