Rebecca Ferguson thanks sexual harassment and bullying watchdog after MBE

British singer Rebecca Ferguson has thanked a new watchdog which will monitor sexual harassment and bullying in the entertainment industry, after she was named in the King’s Birthday Honours.

The Liverpool-born performer, who was a runner-up on The X Factor in 2010, becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to the music industry.

On Saturday, she called it a “lovely surprise”, thanking the King and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and saying she was “very grateful and honoured to be recognised with this most prestigious award”.

Ferguson also said: “I would especially like to thank the people of Liverpool –  without your unwavering support I would not have been in this position.

“My husband, for guiding and helping me through the tough days of campaigning, and my most loved wonderful children.

Rebecca Ferguson attending the Brit Awards 2024 in London
Rebecca Ferguson called the honour a ‘lovely surprise’ (Ian West/PA)

“I would also like to thank CIISA (Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority) and every person who has made it happen – we are only starting out, long may this be a new reality for the industry.”

CIISA hopes to “uphold and improve standards of behaviour” in the world of entertainment and broadcasting and has been supported by actresses including Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

Ferguson, 37, also paid tribute to her grandmother, Mavis Jameson, who “taught me my history, which empowered me to be able to speak truth to power”, along with her mother and late grandmother Caroline Ferguson.

The singer, who beat One Direction to second place on The X Factor before Matt Cardle triumphed, has turned to activism in the music industry in recent years.

Ferguson campaigned for the introduction of the new regulatory body for the sector, which would work to ensure artist welfare.

She had a meeting, which she described at the time as “very productive”, with the then culture secretary Oliver Dowden in 2021, to discuss discrimination in the music industry.

In June 2023, Ferguson called on media watchdog Ofcom to conduct an investigation into reality TV shows to “ensure the future safety of contestants”.

Rebecca Ferguson singing during the Manchester audition stage of ITV’s The X Factor
Rebecca Ferguson during the audition stage of ITV’s The X Factor (Ken McKay/Talkback Thames/PA)

On X, formerly Twitter, she posted a screenshot of an email which she said she sent to ITV and Ofcom in 2021 making a “formal complaint” in relation to the treatment of contestants on reality shows, but said “my concerns appeared to be fobbed off”.

At the time, a spokesman for Ofcom said they “listened carefully to the extent of her concerns about the treatment of contestants during her time on The X Factor in 2010”.

ITV said it was “committed to having in place suitable processes to protect the mental health and welfare of programme participants”.

Ferguson also gave evidence last year in September to MPs on the Women And Equalities Committee, as part of a 2023-2024 report into misogyny and discrimination in the UK music industry.

During the inquiry, which examined misogynistic attitudes in the industry and what steps could be taken to improve attitudes to and treatment of women, she criticised music managers and agents, whom she claimed manipulate artists.

After her success on The X Factor, Ferguson’s debut album Heaven, released in 2011, peaked at number three in the UK albums chart and she has released several more records.

She also featured on the Justice Collective’s star-studded remake of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, which triumphed as the UK’s Christmas number one track in 2012.

In 2022, Ferguson married sports agent Jonny Hughes.