Knighthoods for a Bee Gee, a Beatle, and an ex-Lib Dem leader

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg

The Beatles’ Ringo Starr and Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb have been awarded knighthoods in the New Year Honours, alongside former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Meanwhile Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell, 48, said she was “truly humbled” to become a dame for services to dance, and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo was knighted for services to literature and charity.

Gibb, 71, the last surviving member of the Bee Gees, said he was “deeply honoured, humbled, and very proud” to be recognised, adding: “I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour. It is as much theirs as it is mine.”

Two of the biggest names in line for honours were leaked beforehand – 77-year-old Starr (real name is Richard Starkey, and who got an MBE 52 years ago), and former deputy prime minister Mr Clegg, 50.

Professor John Curtice, 64, who led exit polls that accurately forecast the last four general elections including Labour’s shock gains in June, got a knighthood for services to social sciences and politics. “Now it is my turn to be surprised,” he said.

Author Jilly Cooper was recognised (for services to literature and charity), and actor Hugh Laurie (for services to drama. They have their OBEs upgraded to CBEs.

The 2018 list is 6% smaller than last year, when 1,197 honours were awarded, and the smallest since 2013.

Women make up just under half of those being honoured, and 9.2% of recipients come from a minority ethnic background.

The oldest person to be honoured was 101-year-olds Lieutenant Colonel Mordaunt Cohen, who receives an MBE for services to Second World War education.

Future honours lists will focus on those involved in the responses to the series of UK terror attacks in 2017 and the Grenfell Tower fire which left 71 people dead.