Alan Bates Knighted for Exposing Post Office Scandal in King’s Birthday Honours

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Alan Bates, the relentless campaigner who uncovered the Horizon IT scandal, has been knighted in the King’s Birthday Honours.

This recognition highlights his critical role in one of the most significant miscarriages of justice in British history.

As the founder of the Justice for Sub-postmasters Alliance, Bates dedicated years to revealing the wrongful convictions of over 700 post office branch managers, who between 1999 and 2015 were falsely accused due to flawed Horizon accounting software. Bates accepted the honour on behalf of the affected branch operators, acknowledging the “horrendous things that had happened to them.”

Bates’ efforts, notably depicted in the ITV drama “Mr Bates vs the Post Office,” culminated in the mass quashing of convictions. Reflecting on his knighthood, Bates expressed hope that it would aid in securing final justice for the sub-postmasters.

Other notable honourees include the acclaimed artist Tracey Emin, who becomes a dame, and political satirist Armando Iannucci, awarded a CBE. Celebrated actor Imelda Staunton also receives damehood, and cyclist Mark Cavendish is knighted. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is honoured as a Companion of Honour for his public service.

Bates, from Llandudno, north Wales, had previously turned down an OBE while former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells retained her CBE, which she later relinquished following public pressure.

Bates learned of his knighthood unexpectedly while watching Vennells at the Post Office inquiry. He described the campaign as a “hard slog over many years” and emphasised that the award recognises the collective suffering of the sub-postmasters.

Armando Iannucci, celebrated for his work including the sitcom “The Thick of It,” expressed pride in the British television and film industry and reiterated his commitment to defending public service television.

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown remarked on his award: “The opportunity to serve is an honour in itself.” He highlighted the vital contributions of unsung community heroes.

Other distinguished recipients include Dame Jenny Abramsky, former BBC head of audio and music, and retired judge Terence Etherton, now a knight grand cross for his services to LGBT veterans.

Historian Dr Niall Ferguson, knighted for his contributions to public history, emphasised the civic importance of his work. Sports honours include CBEs for former cyclist Chris Boardman and ex-footballer Graeme Souness, OBEs for golfer Sandy Lyle and football pundit Ally McCoist, and an MBE for Olympian Anita Neil.

Fashion designer Anya Hindmarch is made a dame, and interior designer Lulu Lytle receives an OBE. Actor Alex Jennings is awarded a CBE, while Shobna Gulati of “Coronation Street” fame is made an MBE.

Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, thrilled by his MBE, hopes it will raise awareness for his charitable causes. Singer Rebecca Ferguson and Boney M’s Liz Mitchell also receive MBEs, with Mitchell honouring her late father’s legacy.

“Strictly Come Dancing” star Amy Dowden, diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, dedicates her MBE to raising awareness and research for the illness.

The King’s honours also include recognition for his medical team and financial advisors to the late Queen Elizabeth II, highlighting the diverse array of contributions acknowledged in this year’s list. Of the 1,077 honourees, 509 are women, and 10% come from minority ethnic backgrounds, with women constituting 40% of recipients at CBE level and above.

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Alan Bates Knighted for Exposing Post Office Scandal in King’s Birthday Honours