Ex-cricketer Sir Ian Botham 'to be made a lord as reward for Brexit loyalty'

18 July 2020, 04:18 | Updated: 18 July 2020, 11:58

Boris Johnson will reportedly offer ex-cricketer Sir Ian Botham a peerage as he marks his first year in Downing Street by rewarding Brexit loyalists.

Sir Ian, known affectionately as Beefy, is among 30 new peers who will be announced later this month, according to The Times.

He is considered to be one of England's greatest cricketers with 5,200 test runs and 383 wickets. Sir Ian also publicly supported the Brexit campaign and appeared alongside Mr Johnson before the referendum.

The 64-year-old played the question of Britain's departure from the EU with a straight bat, saying "enough's enough".

He appeared at a County Durham event with Mr Johnson and said: "I have been lucky enough to grow up in a wonderful country, a country that has always been able to look after itself."

But he felt power has been "eroded by Brussels", adding: "I think, hang on, enough's enough."

Sir Ian said if the EU was inviting the UK to join afresh, we would "give it a very wide berth".

The former cricketer is to be offered a peerage, and therefore made a lord, as a reward for his support for Brexit, The Times reports.

The list of peerages is also said to include four ex-Labour MPs, including Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, who both supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

There will also be peerages for Ian Austin and John Woodcock, who backed Remain but supported Mr Johnson's Brexit deal and urged Labour voters not to support Jeremy Corbyn, the broadsheet has said.

It has also been reported Mr Johnson will seek to heal the divisions in the Conservative Party with peerages for Ken Clarke, Philip Hammond and Ed Vaizey.

All three had the Tory whip withdrawn for supporting efforts to pass legislation to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

There was no immediate comment from Downing Street.