Former communities secretary Eric Pickles is to be knighted.
The MP for Brentwood and Ongar was first elected in 1992 and was communities secretary for the whole of the last parliament. He also served as Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010.
A spokesman for No 10 said Sir Eric had been knighted by the prime minster David Cameron “in recognition of his longstanding public service to the country”.
The Best of Pickles
Prior to entering Parliament, Sir Eric had a long career in local government: he was elected to Bradford Council in 1979 and was Leader of the Council from 1988 to 1990.
He was replaced in the cabinet by Greg Clark in Mr Cameron’s post-election reshuffle. He was the only minister who served as a secretary of state in the coaliton government not to be given a new ministerial position in the new Conservative government.
Sir Eric cut a controversial figure in local government, with respondents to LGC’s pre-election confidence survey overwhelmingly negative about his impact on the sector.
Commenting on the news on twitter Sir Eric said he was “really pleased”. He shared a letter from Mr Cameron thanking him for his service to the party and for being such a “hardworking, dedicated and committed colleague”.
Mr Cameron continues: “It’s been a real joy to work with you… I really could not wish for a better ‘chum’ in parliament.”
The prime minster goes on to praise his achievements as communities secretary including “special tribute to the work you have carried out bringing down the cost of local government” and combating extremism and radicalism.
Mr Cameron says the previous government’s housing policies, including right-to-buy, were “landmark achievements of our first term” and “lay the ground for us to continue with those reforms in the years to come”.
He finishes with a hand written note thanking Sir Eric for “so much sage advice over the years”.