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June 12, 2023

MPs’ expenses scandal editor William Lewis knighted by Boris Johnson

Lewis has been recognised for "political and public office".

By Dominic Ponsford

Former Daily Telegraph editor William Lewis has received a knighthood in Boris Johnson‘s controversial resignation honours list.

He is one of six knights bachelor appointed by Johnson (full list here). The other five are all senior Conservative politicians who have supported Johnson, including Michael Fabricant MP and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.

Lewis is described as a political adviser to Johnson in the list and he has been recognised for “political and public office”.

Lewis never had a formal role with Johnson during his time as prime minister. In February 2022, it was reported that Lewis was joining a “brains trust” of new advisers to assist then PM Johnson. A source told The Sunday Times at the time: “Will has been providing advice but will not be taking a formal role.”

Former BBC journalist Guto Harri joined Johnson as director of communications at the same time and received a CBE in the resignation list.

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Lewis was Johnson’s editor at The Telegraph from 2006 to 2009. At the time Johnson was receiving £250,000 a year for a weekly column, though this was an arrangement that began before Lewis joined the title and continued after he left.

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Lewis presided over the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal investigation, which saw the title pay for a file containing the full unredacted expenses information for every MP. The legally risky expose led to public outrage and numerous MPs standing down from Parliament. Lewis was named Journalist of the Year in the 2010 Press Gazette Press Awards.

Lewis went on to work at News Corp, where he was closely involved in dealing with the fallout of the hacking scandal. He was made chief executive of News Corp-owned Dow Jones in 2014 and resigned in 2020. In May 2021 he co-founded The News Movement, a youth and social-media focused news brand.

Lewis is the second former Telegraph editor to be honoured by Johnson, after making Charles Moore a lord in 2020.

Asked about his peerage in a Press Gazette interview earlier this year, Moore said: “I suppose – and this is 100% supposition – that, first of all, I admired Boris as a journalist. I promoted him. And then when he become a politician, I supported him as leader. And, of course, I supported him on Brexit. Sorry, it’s the other way around, because Brexit was first. And so, I think, he felt pleased about that. But that’s all.”

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