Treasury official a controversial knight

Dec. 31, 2008 at 10:33 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The New Year's Honors List announced Wednesday includes a controversial knighthood for the civil servant who shaped recent British financial policy.

Critics point out that Nick Macpherson, permanent undersecretary of the treasury, presided over the bubble that preceded the recent financial bust and that his policies to get the country out of the slump are still untested, The Times of London reported.

"I would have thought it a rather premature judgment on government policy, which is far from assured of being a success," said Vince Cable, Liberal Democratic treasury spokesman. "There is a slight element of self-congratulation about it."

Chris Hoy, the cyclist who won three gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing also gets a knighthood. For Hoy, the list is a family affair since his mother, Carol, a retired nurse in Glasgow, has received an MBE for services to healthcare.

Another MBE goes to Eleanor Simmons, who won two gold medals in the Paralympics in Beijing. Simmons, at 13, was the youngest Briton ever to win a gold medal in the Paralympics.

Michael Sheen, best-known for playing Prime Minister Tony Blair in "The Queen," also gets an MBE.

This year's list includes 966 honorees.

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