Boris Johnson’s sister has said their father Stanley “deserves recognition” after it emerged that the ex-prime minister had nominated him for a knighthood.

Broadcaster and journalist Rachel Johnson said it was “not unprecedented” that a prime minister puts forward a family member for an honour.

Mr Johnson has faced criticism for his resignation honours list, for which he has reportedly proposed 100 people.

In an interview with the News Agents podcast, Ms Johnson claimed Theresa May had given her husband Philip a knighthood, John Major had made his wife Norma a dame and Margaret Thatcher gave a baronetcy to her son Mark.

However in each case, the honour was bestowed by the individual’s successor as prime minister.

Ms Johnson said: “I don’t expect there’s going to be a national outpouring of joy, if my father is going to be arise Sir Stanley. I can’t confirm that…

“The resignation honours has got to be signed off by the current Prime Minister. So, I think this is a subject of speculation … I know people won’t love me for saying this, if my brother hadn’t been Prime Minister, I think my father could have been in line for some sort of recognition in his own right. He’s done much more for the Tory Party and the environment than dozens of people who have been given gongs at this point.”

She added: “I might also say that it’s not unprecedented that a Prime Minister puts a family member, whatever you may feel about it, on his resignation honours list. Theresa May knighted Philip. Maggie Thatcher gave Mark a baronetcy and John Major gave a damehood to Norma, now obviously three wrongs don’t make a knight.

“People can draw their own conclusions, please don’t ask me to, as it were, sit in judgement on it. Because it literally is too close. You’re talking about my brother and my father. That is a decision that my brother has made with regards to my father or not.”

Ms Johnson said she would not accept an honour herself.

The former prime minister previously faced accusations of cronyism in 2020 when he nominated his brother Jo Johnson for a peerage.

Keir Starmer said the latest move would be “outrageous”.

The Labour leader told LBC: “The idea of an ex-prime minister bestowing honours on his dad – for services to what?

“The idea that Boris Johnson is nominating his dad for a knighthood – you only need to say it to realise just how ridiculous it is. It’s classic of a man like Johnson. I mean, I think the public will just think this is absolutely outrageous.”

Liberal Democrats chief whip Wendy Chamberlain urged Rishi Sunak to veto Mr Johnson’s honours list if future ones “are to have any shred of credibility”.

But a Conservative MP who has previously been critical of Mr Johnson said his father “has contributed to public life and public service – although it may look better if it had been awarded to him by someone other than his son”.

Downing Street indicated that Mr Sunak has no plans to change the honours system.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “There are long-standing rules that guard the honours process.

“There’s no plans to change those that I’m aware of. It is a matter of fact that outgoing prime ministers are able to nominate people in this way.”

A spokesperson for the former premier said: “We don’t comment on honours.”

Stanley Johnson also declined to comment.

In 2021, senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes and a journalist publicly accused Mr Johnson Snr of touching them inappropriately at Conservative party conferences.

The former MEP said he had “no recollection” of either incident.

Ms Johnson also told the News Agents podcast that she had advised her brother not to stand for Tory leader again after Liz Truss’ resignation last October.

She said: “I will admit that during that October moment, when Liz Truss was being dismounted by her own party, she actually elegantly dismantled herself. And there was that flight tracker. I did say [to Boris] at that moment, I didn’t think this was the right time… And I don’t think I was alone in saying that.”

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