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John Redwood gets knighthood in New Year’s Honours list

John Redwood MP Image caption Sir John has said the UK will be better-off outside the European Union

Veteran Conservative MP John Redwood has been knighted in the New Year Honours List.

The former cabinet minister and leading Brexiteer is among a number of MPs to be recognised for their political and public service.

Sir John, who has represented the Berkshire town of Wokingham since 1987, is opposed to Theresa May’s EU deal.

Tory ex-minister Gary Streeter and long-serving Labour MP Alan Campbell have also received knighthoods.

Decisions on awards for political and public service are made by a committee independent of government.

While senior Conservative and Labour figures sit on the body, and it is chaired by a Conservative peer Lord Sherbourne, it has a majority of members who are not affiliated to any political party.

Nevertheless, in past years, the committee has been criticised for approving honours to party donors.

The unexpected award of a knighthood last month to the Conservative MP Sir John Hayes prompted speculation that Downing Street would seek to use honours as an incentive to persuade sceptical MPs to back the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

But the 2018 New Year’s List features comparatively few politicians compared with previous years and their positions on the Brexit deal are already well-known.

One of the most familiar figures in British politics, Sir John Redwood has played a leading role in Conservative debates over Europe and internal battles over four decades.

The 67-year old stood against John Major for the Conservative leadership in 1995, losing by 129 votes.

Two years earlier, the prime minister had described the then Welsh Secretary and other Eurosceptics in his cabinet as “bastards”, in unguarded comments picked up by a microphone.

Image copyright PA Image caption Sir John has been at the heart of Conservative battles over Europe for four decades

Sir John, who became a councillor at the age of 21 and headed Margaret Thatcher’s policy unit in the 1980s, is one of the leading free-market voices in his party and opponents of the UK’s membership of the EU.

He has said he will vote against the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU even if the controversial Northern Ireland b

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