The Beatles’ Ringo Starr and Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb have been awarded knighthoods in the New Year Honours – alongside a string of political figures including former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and key Tory backbencher Graham Brady.
Barry Gibb, 71, who is recognised for his services to music and charity, dedicated the honour to his late brothers and former bandmates and said: “The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life.”
The musicians are joined on the list by Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell, 48, who said she was “truly humbled” to become a dame for services to dance, and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, 74, who is knighted for services to literature and charity.
Mr Morpurgo, 74, who previously received an OBE, said he would “give” his honour to Joey, the equine character from the 1982 children’s book which became a hit international play, to thank him for his knighthood.
He said: “There was never a knight that has owed so much to his horse as this one - and in fact, we will give the knighthood to Joey and call him Sir Joey.”
Two of the biggest names in line for honours were leaked, with 77-year-old Starr, whose real name is Richard Starkey, revealed to be in line for a knighthood for services to music days ahead of the announcement. His award comes 52 years after he received an MBE as part of the “Fab Four” and about 20 years after fellow bandmate Sir Paul McCartney was honoured.
Details of the knighthood of former deputy prime minister and prominent Remain campaigner Mr Clegg, 50, were also the subject of early newspaper reports. His award has provoked criticism among some Brexiteers.
Conservative MPs Graham Brady, 50, chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, 64, and Christopher Chope, 70, receive knighthoods for political and public service while Cheryl Gillan, 65, vice chairman of the committee, is made a dame. On the Labour side, Preston MP Mark Hendrick, 59, and Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, 60, are knighted.
Author and journalist Jilly Cooper is recognised for services to literature and charity, actor Hugh Laurie for services to drama and former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman for her contribution to fashion journalism. All have their OBEs upgraded to CBEs.
Eighties pop star and self-described “maverick” Marc Almond receives an OBE for services to arts and culture.
Breakfast TV veteran Eamonn Holmes, 58, who is awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting, said: “It’s like getting a gold star for your homework – 2018 will be my 38th year as a broadcaster and I can’t think of a better way of marking that.”