Rishi Sunak criticised for 'appalling cronyism' after knighting billionaire Tory donor Mohamed Mansour

Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has been accused of cronyism (PA Wire)
Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has been accused of cronyism (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak has announced a major donor to the Conservative Party will be knighted as part of the Easter honours, leading rivals to criticise “cronyism”.

Labour and Liberal Democrat members have called out the prime minister for awarding the honour to Mohamed Mansour - who gave the Tories £5 million last year.

The Egyptian-born billionaire businessman’s name was one of several on Easter honours list and Tories have said it reflects his charitable work.

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said: “This is either the arrogant act of an entitled man who’s stopped caring what the public thinks, or the demob-happy self-indulgence of someone who doesn’t expect to be prime minister much longer.

“Either way, it shows a blatant disrespect for the office he should feel privileged to hold.”

Paul Kohler, a Lib Dem candidate for Wimbledon constituency, added: “Even in the wake of this appalling example of Tory cronyism, Labour have not ruled out giving honours to donors.”

Born in Alexandria, Sir Mohamed is now a British citizen and is the chairman of Mansour Group, which is one of the largest businesses in Egypt, as well as the London-based investment firm Man Capital.

He donated the £5 million to the Conservative Party in 2023, which was their biggest single donation since 2001.

"I look at what he has achieved in his first months in office and think what he could do in five years," Mr Mansour said of Mr Sunak - adding he wanted to see him re-elected.

Other names up for an Easter honour are British-American film director Christopher Nolan as well as Tory MPs including Tracey Crouch, Harriett Baldwin and Philip Davies.

Easter honours are not a traditional event and Reform UK leader Richard Tice said that other names had been added alongside that of Mr Mansour to “disguise” their intentions.

“The nation is sick of the Tories and their obscene cronyism,” he told the Telegraph.

“Bung them a few million quid and a peerage or knighthood is yours. The whole thing stinks like a rotting fish, from the head.

“Amusingly, they have tried to disguise their tracks with various other soft or cultural types being honoured. We are not that stupid.”

Sir Mohamed’s charitable work includes supporting The King’s Foundation and the St Paul’s Cathedral’s Remember Me project for those who died of Covid-19 in the UK.

Mr Sunak has recommended the honours to the King and the announcement comes ahead of the Easter recess - not the traditional times of June or New Year.