Nick Clegg’s Knighthood has been met with confusion and outrage with two petitions against him receiving the honour continuing to gain signatures – pushing past the 50,000 mark.
The former Lib Dem party leader, who lost his seat in the June snap election and has since written a book about stopping Brexit, was knighted for “public and political service”in the New Year’s honours list, for his five years as deputy prime minister.
News of the knighthood was controversial when it was leaked after Christmas, particularly angering Brexiteers who said ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage should be honoured, and it prompted two petitions to be set up.
Petitions – Block Nick Clegg from receiving a Knighthood and We object to Nick Clegg being offered a Knighthood – were continuing to gain support on Saturday and collectively had over 56,000 signatures before midday.
One petition labelled Clegg a “failed politician” who broke a “major promise” to students in 2010 “just so he could get in bed with the Tories” and concluded that honouring him was “an insult to those who actually earned it”.
Clegg pledged to scrap tuition fees only to then vote for them to rise to nearly £9,000 as he teamed up with Tory leader David Cameron.
The second petition said: “To bestow a Knighthood on Nick Clegg is an insult to university students and all those who have voted to leave the EU.”
Much of the reaction to Clegg’s Knighthood centred around his “broken” promises.
Clegg on Saturday tweeted that he was “grateful” to be included in the New Year Honours but added that the recognition “belongs as much to my team in government as it does to me”.
In a second tweet, Clegg attempted to “clear up a bit of confusion” that his Knighthood meant he would now serve in the House of Lords.
Because he has previously rubbished calls by his supporters for him to be honoured with a peerage and a seat in the House of Lords some wrongly assumed that by accepting a Knighthood, Clegg had effectively changed his mind.
Representatives in the House are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister and some, non-party-political members, are recommended by an independent body, the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
Both Sky News presenter Kay Burley and public agitator Katie Hopkins appeared to be confused by what a Knighthood means.
While some of Hopkins’ followers happily accepted the misinterpreted link…
Others weren’t so easily fooled.
Burley’s followers weren’t having a bar of it.