Boris ally fumes as Harriet Harman’s civil service cousin is handed knighthood

Dominic Grieve says he hopes Boris Johnson is 'gone for good'

Supporters of Boris Johnson have reacted with fury after a senior civil servant was handed a knighthood as part of the King’s Birthday Honours, just weeks after he played a crucial role in the ongoing war between the ex-PM and Whitehall.

Alex Chisholm is to receive the prestigious Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath for public service, after a three-year stint as Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office and COO of the Civil Service.

The news comes just weeks after supporters of Boris Johnson condemned him for his role in handing Mr Johnson’s Prime Ministerial diaries over to the police, following concern from Government lawyers that events at Chequers may have broken lockdown rules.

The Express exclusively revealed Mr Chisholm to be a cousin of Harriet Harman’s, whose Privileges Committee is set to get Mr Johnson banned from Parliament and concluded he lied to the Commons over Partygate.

Responding to the knighthood, an MP ally of the former Prime Minister’s has sensationally accused Mr Chisholm of receiving the gong for his role in passing the diaries to the police.

They said: “We believe this knighthood was conferred by Sunak to award him for manipulating Boris diary events and passing to police.”

Another close ally of Mr Johnson’s quipped: “Arise, Sir Stitch Up”.

The Cabinet Office fought back, however, claiming Mr Chisholm was nominated for his knighthood six months ago well before the diaries row.

A source added his honour was conferred by the Public Service committee, which is made up of fellow civil service permanent secretaries.

Any ministerial involvement in putting the honours lists together was flatly denied.

The news was announced last night, along with a swathe of other honours as part of the annual monarch’s birthday awards, which this year total more than 10,00 recipients.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who Boris Johnson’s allies have slammed as a “compliant tool of the blob” amid the Cabinet Office passing his diaries to the police, said the honours list “has long been a way of recognising people who make an incredible contribution to life in Britain and beyond.”

Mr Chisholm joins others from politics to have received an award as part of the King’s first Birthday Honours list, including deputy Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie who receives a damehood and Labour MP Ben Bradshaw who will also be knighted.

A fortnight ago the Express exclusively revealed the close family tie between Mr Chisholm and Ms Harman, tracing their family trees to prove the pair are first cousins.

The familial tie raised yet more questions about the neutrality of the civil service towards Mr Johnson.

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Mr Chisholm passed Boris Johnson’s diaries over to both the Met and Thames Valley police forces in late April.

He wed Eliza Pakenham in 1993, the granddaughter of Frank Pakenham and Elizabeth Pakenham, née Harman.

Frank Pakenham was himself one of Labour’s longest-serving politicians, holding several cabinet positions in Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson’s Governments.

Elizabeth Pakenham, Mr Chisholm’s grandmother-in-law, was the aunt of Harriet Harman.

Of the 1,171 individuals awarded a gong this year, half are women and 11 percent come from an ethnic minority background.

In May, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said he wants to “level up” the honours system, by handing out more awards to those in the ‘red wall’ following analysis showing London recipients to be overrepresented in previous years.

The Cabinet Office declined to comment.

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