Conservative party donor Mohamed Mansour is awarded knighthood

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Mohamed Mansour, the Egyptian-born tycoon who is one of the Conservative party’s largest donors, has been awarded a knighthood in a set of honours unveiled by Downing Street on Thursday.

Number 10 said Mansour — who provided the Tories with £5mn last year which at the time amounted to their biggest donation since 2001 — would become a knight bachelor.

Labour criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for using the honours system to reward a major Conservative donor — something the Tories have done previously.

More than half a dozen Conservative donors featured in the most recent New Year honours list, including a knighthood for Sir John Griffin, founder of taxi company Addison Lee, who gave the party more than £4mn between 2013 and 2019, according to Electoral Commission data. He has denied allegations of cronyism.

The limited set of honours announced on Thursday also included recognition for senior Conservative MPs and business people.

Demis Hassabis, the co-founder of Google’s DeepMind, has been awarded a knighthood.

Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive of Netflix, was made an honorary Commander of the British Empire. Matthew Clifford, an artificial intelligence adviser to the government, and Ian Hogarth, chair of the AI Safety Institute, also received CBEs.

Harriett Baldwin, chair of the House of Commons Treasury select committee, was awarded a damehood, as was Tracey Crouch, former sports minister.

Harriett Baldwin
MP Harriett Baldwin was awarded a damehood © Charlie Bibby/FT

Sunak appointed Mansour to the post of senior Conservative treasurer in 2022, giving him an important role in party fundraising.

Mansour, a billionaire, is a naturalised UK citizen who is chair of Mansour Group, a Cairo-based conglomerate.

He served as Egypt’s transport minister between 2005 and 2009 under the then president Hosni Mubarak.

Mansour moved to the UK in 2009. In 2010 he set up Man Capital, one of the biggest family offices in the country, with investments across the world.

He faced criticism in the British press last year when it emerged his Caterpillar dealership, Unatrac, was supplying machinery to Russia’s oil and gas industry despite sanctions imposed after President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Mansour said at the time that Unatrac’s operations in Russia had been suspended several weeks earlier.

Unatrac donated more than £600,000 to the Conservatives between 2017 and 2020, according to filings.

Labour said Mansour’s knighthood showed Sunak lacked political nous.

“This is either the arrogant act of an entitled man who’s stopped caring what the public thinks or the demob-happy self-indulgence of someone who doesn’t expect to be prime minister much longer,” said Anneliese Dodds, Labour chair.

“It shows a blatant disrespect for the office he should feel privileged to hold.”

The Conservative party declined to comment.

Labour has run into controversy over honours in the past. In 2006, several millionaires nominated for peerages by the then prime minister Tony Blair were rejected by the House of Lords appointments commission.

It later emerged the millionaires had loaned large sums to Labour, prompting a police investigation, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided against bringing charges.


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