THERESA May has been accused of trying to buy off her critics after one of the country’s most prominent Brexiteers was given a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

John Redwood, who claims the economic consequences of crashing out of the EU without a deal will be “wholly favourable” to the UK, is to become Sir John.

And, there was surprise too when late on Friday afternoon, Downing Street announced that Sir Edward Leigh was to become a member of the Privy Council.

Leigh, who has called for “no surrender, no appeasement” on the question of the Irish border, can now style himself right honourable, rather than just honourable, and will join a select group of senior politicians.

Other politicians to receive knighthoods include Remain supporting Tory MP Gary Streeter and Labour’s deputy chief whip Alan Campbell.

In an apparent bid to reassure supporters that he will not be swayed by his gong, Redwood published a blog on Thursday outlining “Eight things wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement”.

“This is an unbelievably bad Agreement for the UK and a great one for the EU,” he wrote.

“It is not a deal, as it does not offer the UK any of the things the PM said she wanted. It is an invitation to much more uncertainty and more talks on worse terms for the UK.”

Just three weeks ago, Redwood, one of the staunchest eurosceptics on the Tory benches, voted against May in the party’s no confidence ballot.

Redwood was criticised last year after he recommended foreign investors avoid Britain and “look further afield” because of the state of the UK economy.

Leigh, meanwhile, rode to the Prime Minister’s rescue during her recent leadership challenge.

In the House of Commons, he said he had an “unfashionably supportive view of the prime minister” and suggested he could be “persuaded” to support her deal.

SNP MP Brendan O’Hara commented on the list announcement, saying: “Theresa May’s blatant abuse of the honours system is clear, as she continues offering grubby inducements to MPs in an attempt to persuade them to vote for her faltering deal. These dubious honours just go to show how out of touch Westminster is with the concerns of the people of Scotland.

“The Prime Minister’s time would be much better spent listening to the growing opposition to her bad Brexit deal rather than dishing out honours to her Tory colleagues with the sole purpose of getting her deal over the line.

“It’s hard to imagine how the Prime Minister could make an already discredited honours system even more disreputable – yet somehow she’s managed it.”