Sir Tom Scholar, the former Treasury mandarin sacked by ex-prime minister Liz Truss, has been given one of Britain’s highest awards in the New Year honours list.
Lord Mark Sedwill, who stepped down as cabinet secretary in 2020 after clashing with aides to then premier Boris Johnson, is also honoured.
The honours list sees 548 women receive gongs — half of the total — including “the Lionesses” from England’s women’s football team, who won the Euros this year.
Household names on the list include fashion designer Mary Quant, rock star Brian May, artist Grayson Perry and Virginia McKenna, the actress and wildlife campaigner.
Prominent business figures honoured include Rolls-Royce chair Anita Frew, Diageo head Ivan Menezes, NatWest chief Alison Rose and Keith Skeoch, former Standard Life Aberdeen chief and a government adviser on “ring fencing” in the banking sector.
The honours list, the first signed off by King Charles III, also includes awards for Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Kyiv, and Deborah Bronnert, her counterpart in Moscow.
The list is compiled from nominations made by organisations or members of the public that are then scrutinised by subject-based honours committees, which advise the prime minister.
Scholar joins the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, a select group that includes former cabinet secretaries Lord Richard Wilson and Lord Gus O’Donnell — just months after he was fired from the top job at the Treasury.
Truss, who had clashed with Scholar during her brief stint as a finance minister, viewed him as the embodiment of “stale” orthodoxy. He was sacked by Kwasi Kwarteng on Truss’s chancellor’s first day in office.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA civil service union, said Scholar’s award came at the end of an “extraordinary year” in which government officials had come under “relentless attack” from their political masters.
Penman said civil servants had been caught up in a “culture war” led by Johnson and Truss, adding: “We have not just been treated badly, but we’ve had to keep on running the country during all the chaos this year.”
Sedwill, who clashed with Johnson’s advisers in 2020, receives a knighthood in the Order of St Michael and St George for his work in foreign policy and national security. Simmons and Bronnert are appointed dames in the same order.
Leah Williamson, squad captain of the England Lionesses, receives an OBE, while teammates Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Ellen White are awarded MBEs.
Sir Hugh Robertson, chair of the sports honours committee, said a decision had been taken not to “carpet bomb” the entire squad with awards, but hinted more could follow if the team did well in the 2023 World Cup.
Other footballers to receive awards include the former goalkeeper Pat Jennings for his services to charity in Northern Ireland, Scotland’s captain Andrew Robertson for his work with young people, and former midfielder and manager Chris Kamara for his charity and anti-racism work.
Meanwhile Quant becomes a Companion of Honour alongside Professor Sir Michael Marmot, an internationally renowned expert on health inequalities, who has criticised public sector austerity in the UK.
Marmot on Friday described the award as “personally wonderful”. However, he went on to say that the cost of living crisis posed another challenge to health equity. He cited the decision by public sector workers, after 12 years of pay restraint, to strike “so they have enough money to feed their children without resort to food banks”.
Queen guitarist May receives a knighthood for services to music and charity, Perry is knighted for services to the arts and McKenna becomes a dame for her work in wildlife conservation.
Frew and Rose receive damehoods for services, respectively, to business and the economy and financial services. Menezes is knighted for services to business and equality, while Skeoch receives the same award for his work in the financial sector.
Biographer Professor Dame Hermione Lee and economist Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta also receive top awards.
More than 1,100 people are on the main honours list, ranging from 18-year-old Dara McAnulty, recognised for his environmental work and help for people with autism, to 100-year-old Peter Davies, a reading volunteer at a primary school in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Jawahir Roble from London, who grew up playing football in war-torn Somalia, receives an MBE for services to the sport after becoming the UK’s first female Muslim referee.