King's Birthday Honours: Alan Bates, Tracey Emin and Gordon Brown commended on awards list

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has been made a Companion of Honour, the highest award, which is also held by Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir David Attenborough, ITV News' Sejal Karia reports

Post Office campaigner Alan Bates, artist Tracey Emin and former prime minister Gordon Brown are among those named in this year's King's Birthday Honours list.

The former Labour leader has been made a Companion of Honour, the highest award also held by Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir David Attenborough.

He said he was "slightly embarrassed" to have made the list, which is limited to just 65 people at any one time.

Alan Bates was knighted in recognition of his role in campaigning for justice for sub-postmasters caught up in the Post Office Horizon scandal.

The former sub-postmaster had previously rejected an OBE while Ms Vennells held on to her CBE.

He said: “I felt it would have been quite offensive to many of the group if I’d accepted it.

“But I do know that I’ve had hundreds of emails and letters of support over the years and a lot of people do seem to think that I should receive some sort of recognition for the work that I’ve done for them or on their behalf.

“I know I’m the recipient of it and all the rest of it, but it’s on behalf of the group as well – and recognition of the horrendous things that have happened to them and the story’s not over yet.”

Tracey Emin, who is known for her autobiographical and confessional artwork, said: “Dame Tracey has a good ring to it. I’m very, very happy. Another brilliant surprise in my life.”

More than 1,000 people from across the UK received honours in Friday’s list.

Actress Imelda Staunton was also made a dame, and said: “I feel genuinely humbled to be recognised on the same level as the amazing actresses, all the great dames, who have led the way for so many of us.”

Writer Armando Iannucci was made a CBE and cyclist Mark Cavendish was knighted.

The Thick Of It creator Iannucci said he was “proud” to work in the British television and film industry.

He added: “It’s the best in the world, yet weirdly I’ve been spending more and more of my energy defending our public service television from attacks on its independence and funding.

“I’ll take this award as a cue to keep going.”

From the world of entertainment, singer Rebecca Ferguson, Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon and Countdown’s Susie Dent are all to receive an MBE.

Former cyclist Chris Boardman and former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness were made CBEs, while former England footballer Karen Carney was made an OBE.

The youngest recipient on the list was 20-year-old Shamza Butt, who received a British Empire Medal for her work at the National Citizen Service on behalf of young people.

Harold Jones, the oldest to be awarded the accolade at 100 years old, was commended for his fundraising for motor neurone disease charities in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands.

Of the 1,077 people honoured in the 2024 list, 509 were women. At CBE level and above, 40% of those given awards were women.

In total, 10% of all successful candidates were from an ethnic minority background.

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