Congratulations to Liberal Democrats on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Many congratulations to the Liberal Democrats honoured into today’s birthday honours list.

We’ve already mentioned Simon Hughes, who is knighted.

Duwayne Brooks (pictured) receives an OBE for public and political service. Duwayne was our very prominent and energetic candidate for Mayor of Lewisham in 2014. He has been a councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham, serving as the lead member for the Liberal Democrats on the Safer Communities Board at the Local Government group, where he has also been Community Cohesion and PREVENT Champion. He has run a charity supporting victims of crime. Duwayne is a great example of a Liberal Democrat rolling their sleeves up to make their community better.

Neil Sherlock is made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for public and political service. Neil is a partner of PwC, the accountants, specialising in reputational strategy. He is a former special adviser to Nick Clegg who beat Boris Johnson in 1985 to become President of the Oxford University student union. He has twice been a PPC for the party and is married to Baroness Parminter.

James Gurling receives an OBE for political service. He describes himself as a “PR consultant by day – political activist by night”. James was elected three times to Southwark Council. He was a press Aide to Paddy Ashdown on the ’97 General Election tour and later Leadership Election Agent to Charles Kennedy. He is on the party’s Federal Executive and Federal Conference Committee and chairs the Party’s Campaigns & Communications Committee. In the latter role, James has taken feedback from members about our recent electoral performances. For many years, James has been seen on the party conference platform as an aide and chair. James has been seen in the news in last fortnight, as he is the brother of Sarah Gurling, Charles Kennedy’s former wife, and was a close friend of Charles.

Peter Freitag becomes an MBE for services to the community in Darlington County Durham. Peter is a veteran party member who has held a number of senior roles in the North East regional party organisations and at local and national level. A retired estate agent, he has at various times been a councillor on Darlington Borough Council.

Tony French is awarded an MBE for services to the community in Chichester, West Sussex. Tony has continuously represented the Chichester East Ward on Chichester City Council since 1979. He was Mayor of the City Council in 1985/6 and 2011/12. He represented East Ward on the District Council from 1973-1976 and 1979-2015. He was Chairman of the District Council under the Liberal Democrat administration from 1995-99 when the Lib Dems won 25 of the 50 seats. Tony was founder Secretary and has held every officer position of the Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club, and is now its President. He has also helped many organisations, including the Chichester Festivities, Festival Theatre, New Park Centre and the Chichester Canal Trust. (Thanks to Andrew Smith for that write-up).

Issan Ghazni is awarded an MBE for public and political service in Nottinghamshire. Issan is chair of Nottinghamshire Liberal Democrats and has been chair of Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats. He has been the party’s National Diversity Adviser. He was one of our candidates for the European Parliament for the East Midlands in 2014 and PPC for the party in Nottinghamshire East in 2005. Issan is a remarkably energetic and passionate advocate for ethnic minorities in our party. He is a regular contributor to Liberal Democrat Voice.

Fran Oborski is made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for political and public service in Kidderminster and Wyre Forest. Fran was first elected to Wyre Forest District Council as a Liberal councillor in 1973 and has served continuously ever since. She was elected Mayor of Kidderminster 1984-85 and served as Chairman of Wyre Forest DC 2013-2014. Fran has been a Worcestershire County Councillor since 2001. Currently Fran is Chairman of Wyre Forest Local Children’s Trust. She is a personal Trustee of Kidderminster and District Youth Trust And is a Board Member of Wyre Forest Community Housing. Fran recently rejoined the LibDems after a spell in the Liberal party. You can tell Fran is a hard-working LibDem councillor because she has her own Focus website which has an “action map” showing where on her patch she has made things happen!

Dr Janet Tait has been awarded the British Empire Medal For voluntary and charitable services to the community in Aldeburgh, Suffolk and through Save the Children. Janet is a retired GP, a stalwart of the Suffolk Coastal local party and led local opposition to the Iraq War. The Guardian obituary for Janet’s late husband, Ian, relates that their “firm Quaker principles enabled” both of them “to stand unembarrassed in Aldeburgh high street lobbying against the proposed war in Iraq.”

That’s all the Liberal Democrats which we have so far spotted in the list, but please let us know if we have missed anyone out. Sometimes we don’t spot the ones without “political” in their commendation.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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18 Comments

  • Add Tony French (Chichester) who has been awarded an MBE.
    Continuous representation of the Chichester East Ward on Chichester City Council since 1979. Mayor of the City Council in 1985/6 and 2011/12. Represented East Ward on the District Council from 1973-1976 and 1979-2015. Chairman of the District Council under the Liberal Democrat administration from 1995-99 when the Lib Dems won 25 of the 50 seats. As Tony said at the time “the Council may be hung but it is hung the way I like it”.
    Founder Secretary and has held every officer position of the Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club. Now its President
    Helped many organisations, including the Chichester Festivities, Festival Theatre, New Park Centre and the Chichester Canal Trust.

  • Fran Oborski is a member of the “continuity” Liberal Party, not actually a Lib Dem.

  • Alan, she’s just rejoined – there’s a Facebook post from Sal Brinton about it. Think it was only yesterday or the day before, but it still counts!

  • That’s great news, thanks, Keith!

  • Fran Oborski deserves recognition for a life-time of work for her local community and for political good sense.

  • Sadie Smith 13th Jun '15 - 1:10pm

    Interesting mix. Very pleased about them , though I might need to grovel next time I have lunch with Fran:)

  • “Fran Oborski is made a Member of the British Empire for political and public service”

    Presumably she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) as you can’t be made a member of something that doesn’t exist.

    I am waiting for someone to come up with a replacement order as this one but that is another point.

  • Likewise with Neil Sherlock, “Comander of the Order of…”

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '15 - 7:00am

    Neil Sherlock and Kate Parminter came down to the target seat of Maidstone to help Jasper Gerard canvassing. Neil confirmed the story that a voter had alleged that Neil was only standing for parliament for the money. Neil had taken out a piece of paper and written on it the remuneration he was getting, which was more than an MP’s salary. He added that the guy did not vote for him anyway. There is no pleaseing some people.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '15 - 7:41am

    “something that doesn’t exist.” https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Saint_Helena. As Waterloo is topical should we mention St Helena? Gibraltar is represented in the European Parliament by our south western regional MEPs and is internally self-governing, but there is occasional diplomatic friction with Spain about the Treaty of Utrecht.

  • peter tyzack 14th Jun '15 - 5:16pm

    Congratulations to all of those named, but can someone tell me, who nominates all these people – or is it by some sort of semaphore that people get flagged up to the Palace.? I’d love to know, please.. [email protected]

  • Jonathan Hunt 15th Jun '15 - 4:25pm

    Duwayne is very appreciative of the many messages of congratulation he has received.

    Statement from Duwayne Brooks on the award of the OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours:

    “I am both delighted and humbled to be given this award by Her Majesty for my public and political services. I have tried to return the support I received from local people by serving as a councillor in a deprived ward in Lewisham and undertaking other public work. This includes leading for the Liberal Democrats on crime matters at the Local Government Association.

    “My congratulations to Sir Simon Hughes on his knighthood, and Issan Ghazi, the other ethnic minority recipient; an MBE for a BME. We must all hope it will help speed Issan’s recovery and the day when we will welcome him again at EMLD and other party events.

    “While I am proud to be one of the two BAME Lib Dems to be honoured, I want to do more to represent all Londoners of whatever background. This honour has given my aim a massive boost.”

    Further information and request for interviews:
    Duwayne Brooks on 07999821441
    Jonathan Hunt on 020 7737 3793

    NOTES FOR EDITORS: Duwayne Brooks’s story of how he was a victim of the racist thugs who murdered his friend Stephen Lawrence is told in the book, Steve and Me. He was at first treated by police as a suspect, and later subjected to huge pressure and harassment by police officers and others.

    Duwayne made his peace, and continues to work closely with the Met police to improve community relations, especially with black and ethnic minority citizens.
    .
    The OBE citation states it is given ‘for public and political services’. Duwayne was a Liberal Democrat councillor in Lewisham and party spokesman on crime at the Local Government Association. Duwayne fought what was recognised by all parties as an excellent campaign in the Mayoral election in Lewisham in 2014.

    He has been tipped as the Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor in 2015, but has yet to declare whether or not he will stand.

    Ends

  • “…..He has been tipped as the Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor in 2015, but has yet to declare whether or not he will stand.”

    Go on Duwayne, give it a go.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Jun '15 - 11:49am

    “Congratulations to all award holders, especially Simon Hughes. It would have been interesting to hear about and celebrate those people, like Vince Cable and others ,who were offered a knighthood and who turned it down and why . They could have been torch bearers for the rest of us .”

    Simon Hughes achievements as an MP and as a Minister deserve recognition. A knighthood tends to happen after long service, but if someone is squeezing the Labour vote in Bermondsey or Greater London, would an honour be an advantage or a disadvantage?

    Maybe Vince Cable wants to stand again for the Commons. There could be an opportunity if Zac Godsmith runs for Mayor of London, or follows up his promises on Heathrow by resigning as an MP.

    Simon Hughes MP had a namesake called Simon Hughes who comments expertly on TV about cricket, but has not been knighted, so far.

    There are two Liberal Democrats called Lord Wallace, both excellent.

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