Labour calls on Boris Johnson to withdraw Geoffrey Boycott knighthood over domestic abuse conviction

Posted On: 
10th September 2019

Labour has called on Boris Johnson to rescind Geoffrey Boycott's knighthood over his conviction for domestic violence.

Former cricketer Geoffrey Boycott received a knighthood from Theresa May

The party said the decision to honour the ex-cricketer, despite him having been convicted of assaulting his partner in France in 1998, sent a “dangerous message”.

Sir Geoffrey’s spot on Theresa May’s resignation honours list also sparked a backlash from women’s groups, whose criticism he later dismissed.

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The party’s shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler said: “Celebrating a man convicted of assaulting his partner by giving him a knighthood is an insult to victims and survivors of domestic violence.

“Honouring a perpetrator of domestic violence just because he is the former prime minister’s favourite sportsman shows how out of touch and nepotistic the honours list is.  

“Boris Johnson should rescind his knighthood today. The whole honours system needs radically overhauling, alongside peerages, so that our political system works for the many not the few.”

Mrs May was praised for introducing landmark domestic abuse legislation to Parliament earlier this year, however Women's Aid hit out at her move in honouring the controversial sportsman on Tuesday morning.

The charity’s co-acting chief executive, Adina Claire, said: “Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.” 

But responding to Ms Claire’s criticism, the former England batsman told the BBC's Today programme: “I don’t care a toss about her, love. It’s 25 years ago. 

“So you can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it’s very nice of you to have me. But I couldn’t give a toss.”

Sir Geoffrey went on to deny that he had committed the assault, and attributed the conviction in France towards his support for Brexit.

Mrs May's honours list was also criticised for rewarding Conservative party donors and former aides.

The former PM had previously vowed to ensure the system would reward hard-working members of the public rather than celebrities or political cronies.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse condemned Sir Geoffrey’s knighthood as “appalling”.

“The Conservative party’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and our shared values seems to know no bounds,” she told PoliticsHome.

“This is just another example of how little the Tory party cares about victims of domestic abuse.  With Parliament suspended the Domestic Abuse Bill has been dropped, meaning that thousands of victims will have to wait additional months - if not years - to get justice.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said today: "It's from the last Prime Minister. It is a long-standing convention, both that individuals can be nominated for an honour in recognition of their political and public service and that outgoing Prime Ministers can draw up a resignation or dissolution list.

"It's customary for the new Prime Minister to forward to outgoing Prime Minister's list without amendment to the Queen for her approval."