Week Ahead: Queen’s Birthday Honours to celebrate nation’s Covid crisis heroes

The Queen is to honour heroes of the Covid crisis while Boris Johnson will address the virtual Conservative Party conference. Chris Burn looks into the week ahead.
The Queen's Birthday Honours list is to be published later this week. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)The Queen's Birthday Honours list is to be published later this week. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Queen's Birthday Honours list is to be published later this week. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)


Like so many things this year, The Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which had been due to be published in June, was delayed by the impact of coronavirus – but this time for a positive reason.

The list of winners will be published on Friday night after being pushed back to enable nominations for people who played crucial roles during the first months of the pandemic.

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It means that this year’s list is expected to be dominated by frontline workers including doctors, nurses, fundraisers and volunteers who stepped up as the crisis unfolded in spring.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As we all redouble our efforts to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives this winter, I am pleased we have an opportunity to recognise those who have given so much to this country already. The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest health challenge in our lifetime. We all have to play our part, but the dedication, courage and compassion seen from these recipients, be it responding on the front line or out in their communities providing support to the most vulnerable, is an inspiration to us all.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude and the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours will be the first of many occasions where we can thank them as a nation”.


On Thursday, a long-awaited flooding summit will finally take place between South Yorkshire leaders and Government officials, but there is unhappiness that the discussion will be limited to only part of the region.

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Barnsley Central MP and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has been seeking the meeting for 11 months after more than 1,000 homes and 564 businesses in South Yorkshire were affected by flooding, including in Fishlake and Bentley, near Doncaster.

In February this year, Environment Secretary George Eustice committed to holding a Yorkshire-wide summit to discuss the chaos caused around various parts of the region from repeated flooding.

Areas in all four corners of Yorkshire have suffered flooding in recent years, including Calderdale, Leeds, Doncaster, York and East Cowick, and local MPs told Parliament last week they were unhappy at the limited scope of Thursday’s meeting.


Prince William will be making his views on climate change known this week as an ITV documentary airs tonight and he takes part in a virtual panel discussion to be shown on YouTube on Saturday.

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The Duke of Cambridge is to call on humanity to “speed the pace up” of its response to climate change and tackle the growing environmental threat to the planet in tonight’s programme, Prince William: A Planet For Us All.

He has been filming the ITV documentary over the past two years in the UK and countries such as Pakistan and Tanzania.

On Saturday afternoon, he will appear in a TED talk on the topic of climate change that will be streamed live on YouTube.


The Conservative Party conference had been due to take place in Birmingham in front of Tory MPs and members, but is now being run virtually.

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It will feature speeches from Chancellor Rishi Sunak today and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

There is also the intriguing promise of online ‘fireside chats’ with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Health Secretary Matt Hancock as part of the event.

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James Mitchinson

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