Remainer Nick Clegg has been knighted, it has been confirmed after rumours of the gong triggered huge anger among Brexiteers earlier this week.
The former Lib Dem party leader, who lost his seat in the June snap election and has since written a book about stopping Brexit, was knighted for “public and political service” in the New Year’s honours list, for his five years as deputy prime minister.
News of the knighthood was controversial when it was leaked after Christmas, particularly angering Brexiteers who said ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage should be honoured.
In an editorial, the pro-Brexit Daily Mail said Clegg would be “the latest of dozens of Remoaners to be showered with gongs after backing the losing side of the 2016 referendum”.
It backed a knighthood for Farage instead, saying: “It will be an insult to the public if he remains plain Mister while the ridiculous Clegg - who was given a resounding thumbs-down by the voters in this year’s election - swaggers around as Sir Nick”.
Under Clegg’s leadership, the Lib Dems entered into a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 and were devastated in the 2015 election, losing all but eight of their MPs.
The party won 12 seats in June but Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat.
Owen Jones wrote in The Guardian that a knighthood for Clegg would show “the establishment is a safety net for the shameful and the shameless”.
A Lib Dem spokesman told HuffPost UK: “We are delighted to see Lib Dems recognised in the New Year honours list.”
The party’s deputy leader Jo Swinson is to be made a CBE.
News of Clegg’s knighthood was leaked earlier this week but confirmed on Friday evening, when all the honours were announced at once.
It was reported he received the honour now because he had left the Commons. Former MPs and ministers Danny Alexander and Ed Davey were both knighted after losing their seats in 2015.
Davey was re-elected to his old seat in 2017.
Farage, who is still an MEP, complained loudly that he had not received any honours and said it was because of his support for Brexit.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “Of course I have not got an honour of any kind. I am not a Remainer.
“Every one of them got CBEs, they got knighthoods, quite extraordinary.”
Five MPs are knighted in the honours list, three of whom backed Brexit.
You can find the full honours list here.