Redwood denies he will support Theresa May on Brexit despite knighthood

PUBLISHED: 20:10 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 20:16 29 December 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May talks with Conservative MP John Redwood. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA.

Prime Minister Theresa May talks with Conservative MP John Redwood. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

An outspoken Brexiteer who was awarded a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list says it will have "no bearing whatsoever" in how he votes on Theresa May's Brexit plan.

The controversial decision by Theresa May to give John Redwood an honour has been criticised as “desperate” and has been seen by some as an attempt to buy support for her Brexit deal ahead of the Commons vote.

But Redwood dismissed the claims as “an obvious untruth”, and said that no suggestion had been made to him that he should change his stance in return for a gong.

Sir John was among three MPs awarded knighthoods, alongside Conservative former minister Gary Streeter and Labour’s deputy chief whip Alan Campbell.

A leading supporter of the Best for Britain anti-Brexit campaign, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, said the announcement brought “dishonour” on the honours system.

“I cannot see how it is anything but a desperate attempt to blunt criticism of the prime minister’s Brexit deal by dangling a knighthood or two in front of MPs,” said Moran.

“Knights of the realm are meant to represent the best of being British, not backstabbing Brexit extremists like John Redwood. It just shows how weak Theresa May is that she is seen to be rewarding him for his behaviour.”

And Scottish National Party MP Brendan O’Hara said: “Theresa May’s blatant abuse of the honours system is clear, as she continues offering grubby inducements to MPs in an attempt to persuade them to vote for her faltering deal.”

But Sir John told Sky News: “It has not bearing whatsoever on my view of the Withdrawal Agreement. Today, as before I was offered the honour, I think the Withdrawal Agreement as a very unwise choice for the UK and so, with regret, I can’t vote for it.”

He said suggestions that the award was an attempt to buy his support as “a lie”, adding: “I think it’s a pity to taint the public debate with such an obvious untruth.

“No-one ever suggested that I should change my conduct in return for a knighthood and had they suggested that, I would have given them a very sharp reply and explained to them that is not the purpose of the honours system.”

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