William Hague backs ‘Give Gary Verity a knighthood’ campaign

COMMONS LEADER William Hague today appeared to throw his weight behind a campaign to award Yorkshire tourism chief Gary Verity a knighthood.

Gary Verity

Mr Hague, MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire and a former Conservative leader, praised the “tremendous and crucial role” of Mr Verity in bringing the Tour De France to Yorkshire last summer.

Mr Verity’s omission from the new year’s honours list prompted surprise and even outrage in some quarters, with Shipley MP Philip Davies calling for a parliamentary debate on how honours are decided.

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Mr Davies said today: “Peter Smith, the Tour De France project coordinator for Leeds Council, was awarded an MBE in the honours list, which I am sure was well merited - but doesn’t that go to show what a glaring omission it was that Gary Verity, who brought the Tour De France to Yorkshire, was ignored?”

Hinting that an honour for Mr Verity could still be forthcoming, Mr Hague said: “The new year’s honours list, although important, is not the only honours list in the year and so names can be considered for other lists as well.”

The former Foreign Secretary said he would pass Mr Davies’s comments “to all of those responsible”. The Shipley MP has also said the honours system should recognises cricketer Geoffrey Boycott.

For his part, Mr Verity said last summer that he did not expect to be honoured, adding that he was “not popular with the establishment”.