Arise Sir Eric - Eric Pickles handed knighthood

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles
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Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is to be given a knighthood, Downing Street has announced.

Mr Pickles, who was first elected to Parliament in 1992, lost his frontbench role following the general election.

Mr Pickles said his family were “absolutely delighted” and he was looking forward to his investiture.

“I’m obviously very pleased with the honour and am looking forward to my day at the Palace,” he said.

“When I left the Cabinet the Prime Minister asked if I would accept a knighthood and I indicated that I would but it then has to go through a committee. I’m very pleased.”

The Brentwood and Ongar MP served as Communities Secretary for the duration of the last parliament and had previously been Tory party chairman.

Mr Pickles has already updated his Twitter account to reflect the move, prompting some criticism over the fact that he does not officially become a knight until the honour is officially bestowed upon him by the Queen.

Born in Keighley in 1952, he joined the Young Conservatives organisation at the age of the age of 16 and was elected to Bradford Council in 1979, becoming its leader nine years later.

During his tenure he oversaw a radical restructure of the council, slashing the authority’s budget by £50m, reduce the workforce and privatising service.

He became an MP for the Brentwood and Ongar constituency in 1992 and was made a Government minister in 2010 following the formation of the Coalition Government, serving as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for the whole of the parliament.

He had previously held the office of Chairman of the Conservative Party from January 2009 to May 2010.

He courted controversy in 2012 when he made remarks he made during a Desert Island Discs broadcast in which he appeared to have said he ‘hated’’ going back to his native Yorkshire and that Essex was now his home.

Mr Pickles later claimed to have been misheard and said that he had actually said I ‘ain’t’ going back to Yorkshire.