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State & Ceremonial

Arise Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Dame Olivia Newton-John & Sir Sam Mendes – 2020 New Year Honours revealed

Former Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith, singer & actress Olivia Newton-John and film director Sam Mendes are among those being recognised by The Queen in the 2020 New Year Honours list.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith is being knighted for political and public service. The 65-year-old has been the Member of Parliament for Chingford since 1992 and has held many Cabinet positions, most recently the role of Work & Pensions Secretary.

A less controversial name in the honours list is singer & actress Olivia Newton-John who becomes a Dame for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.

Dame Olivia has Stage IV cancer and has raised many millions of pounds for cancer research – something she is being recognised for.

Reacting to the news, Dame Olivia said: “I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me.”

Theatre and film director Sam Mendes has been knighted for services to drama. Sir Sam already has a CBE, an award he was presented with 20 years ago in 2000.

Also becoming Dames are Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, who has been awarded the honour for services to charity, Labour MP Diana Johnson for charitable & political service, and novelist Rose Tremain for services to writing.

Those who are to be knighted include former cricketer Clive Lloyd, TV presenter and lecturer Humphrey Burton and playwright Christopher Hampton.

The outgoing Chief Executive of media regulator Ofcom, Sharon White, has been made a Dame for public service, as has the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

In the world of cooking, chef Ainsley Harriott has been awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting and the culinary arts, as has Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.

Meanwhile, Nigel Slater has been awarded an OBE for services to cookery and literature.

Two public figures have been awarded the highest possible honour in the 2020 list – Sir Elton John and Sir Keith Thomas.

Sir Elton & Sir Keith have been appointed as Companions of Honour – an exclusive award of which there can only ever be 65 recipients at any one time.

Following the England Cricket Team’s victory at the ICC Cricket World Cup this year, many members of the squad have been recognised for their efforts.

Sports Personality of the Year Ben Stokes has been awarded with an OBE for services to cricket, with Joe Root and Joseph Buttler both receiving MBEs. One-Day Captain Eoin Morgan has been awarded with a CBE.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the cellist who performed at the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, has been awarded an MBE for services to music.

Radio broadcaster Annie Nightingale has been awarded a CBE for services to radio, as has journalist and broadcaster Gillian Reynolds.

TV presenter Gabby Logan has been awarded an MBE for services to sports broadcasting and the promotion of women in sport.

Rudolph Walker OBE, best known for his portrayal of Patrick Trueman in EastEnders, has been awarded a CBE for services to drama and charity.

Television presenter June Sarpong has been made an OBE for services to broadcasting

Fashion consultant and TV presenter Gok Wan has been awarded an MBE for services to fashion and social awareness.

Philippa Helme, lately Principal Clerk of the Table Office at House of Commons, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for services to Parliament.

Baroness Campbell of Loughborough, Director of Women’s Football at the Football Association, has been made a Dame for services to sport.

Former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton has been awarded an MBE for services to track and field athletics and the promotion of women’s sport.

England football midfielder Jill Scott has been awarded an MBE for services to women’s football.

Netball World Cup Captain Serena Guthrie has been awarded an MBE for services to netball.

In total 1,097 people have received an award in the 2020 New Year Honours List. 

72% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

556 women are recognised in the List, representing 51% of the total, with 9.1% of the successful candidates coming from a BAME background.