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AFP
September 12, 2019

Boycott unperturbed by knighthood criticism

Sports

AFP
September 12, 2019

LONDON: The row over Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood has escalated after Harriet Harman, the UK’s senior female MP, called for Theresa May to review her “baffling” decision to honour a man who was convicted in a French court in 1998 for assaulting his then-girlfriend, Margaret Moore.

Boycott was knighted in May’s resignation honours list, alongside another former England opening batsman, Andrew Strauss, in spite of being fined £5,000 and handed a three-month suspended jail sentence in the wake of an incident at a French hotel in 1996.

On the morning after the honour was made public, Boycott told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he “didn’t give a toss” about criticism from anti-domestic abuse campaigners, including Adina Claire, the co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid, who described his honour as “extremely disappointing”.

And now, Harman, the longest-serving female MP at Westminster, has weighed in on the row, suggesting that there ought to be a process to review an “incomprehensible” decision before “the Queen comes to lay her sword on the shoulder of Geoffrey Boycott”.

Boycott, however, has always denied the charge, and in a testy exchange with the Today programme presenter, Martha Kearney, he added that his experience of the French judicial system had contributed to his outspoken support for Brexit.

“I don’t give a toss about her [Claire], love,” Boycott, 78, told Kearney. “It was 25 years ago. You can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it’s very nice of you to have me, but I couldn’t give a toss.

“Twenty-five years ago, love, in a French court, she tried to blackmail me for £1million. I said no, because in England if you pay any money at all, we think: ‘Hang on, there must be something there’. I said: ‘I’m not paying anything’ … I’m not sure I’d actually got a million at the time.”

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