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Prime Minister 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, 64, said he was respecting protocol meaning he “cannot say anything at this stage” but is expected to be among 30 new peers announced later this month, The Times reports. Considered one of England’s greatest ever cricketers with 5,200 test runs and 383 wickets, Sir Ian publicly supported the Brexit campaign and appeared alongside Mr Johnson before the referendum four years ago.
Vowing to back Leave “with a straight bat” he claimed “enough’s enough” when probed about the EU.
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 was being “eroded by Brussels”, adding: “I think, hang on, enough’s enough.”
He also made it clear that he wanted a Leave result to be final, saying any attempts to rejoin the EU should be given “a very wide berth”.
However, in November 2016, the outspoken Englishman who went on to work for Sky Sports for several years, was infuriated by Remain voices trying to stop Britain’s withdrawal.
In a ferocious blast on Twitter, Sir Ian wrote: “When are these people going to accept and get on with the fact that we had a referendum….and the country voted LEAVE!! Move on..!!”
Amid backlash from Remain supporters to his Twitter outburst, Sir Ian berated the “dying EU” and insisted he wanted “what is best for the country and to run it ourselves not Brussels”.
He attracted support from ITV’s Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, who posted: “Agreed, Beefy. I voted Remain but we lost, Leave won. It’s called democracy. Move on and make it work.”
It came at the height of the Brexit backlash amid calls for a so-called People’s Vote.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair had used a New Statesman interview to insist Brexit “can be stopped” despite admitting he was too unpopular to return to frontline British politics.
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In the end, it took four years for the referendum result to be honoured – and Mr Johnson used his thumping majority in the 2019 general election to lead Britain out of the EU on January 31.
Sir Ian will reportedly be joined in the House of Lords by four ex-Labour MPs, including Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, who both supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
It is also believed there will be peerages for Ian Austin and John Woodcock.
The duo backed Remain but supported Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal and urged Labour voters against Jeremy Corbyn in the December election.
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.
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