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Friday, March 29, 2024


This morning, an extraordinary coincidence, the Guardian reports that a businessman and former Egyptian government minister who donated £5m to the Conservative party last year has unexpectedly been given a knighthood on the recommendation of Rishi Sunak.

The paper says that Mohamed Mansour, a senior treasurer of the Conservative party for just over a year, was one of several surprise recipients of honours on Thursday, with the citation saying it was given for business, charity and political service. But his donation was not without controversy:

Labour has previously called for the Tories to hand back £5m donated last year by Mansour, who served as transport minister in Egypt under military ruler Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2005 to 2009 before the Arab spring.

The opposition called for Sunak to return the donation last year after it emerged one of Mansour’s family companies had still been operating in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

The firm, Mantrac, said in May 2023 that it was winding down its business in Russia, more than a year after Moscow’s war drew international condemnation and calls from Sunak and Boris Johnson for businesses to withdraw.

Mansour was joined in receiving a knighthood by Demis Hassabis, founder of artificial intelligence company DeepMind, and by film-making couple Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, who will receive a knighthood and a damehood. American businessman Ted Sarandos, the co-chief of Netflix, was given an honorary knighthood.

Backbench MP Philip Davies, and Mark Spencer, a former chief whip under Johnson, were also knighted, while Tracey Crouch, a former minister, was made a dame along with Treasury committee chair Harriett Baldwin.

How will the Prime Minister surprise us next?
Do you mean he is clearing the decks for a June, July election? OR IS HE KEEPING US ALL GUESSING?
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