Steve Webb and Shirley Williams in New Year Honours list

Former MP and pensions maestro Steve Webb gets a knighthood and Shirley Williams receives a Companion of Honour. It is great to see those who have contributed so much to improving the lives of others rewarded.

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Steve Webb, who oversaw the introduction of several major pension policy changes including the coalition’s “triple-lock” pension guarantee and auto-enrolment in workplace pensions, has been knighted for political and public service. Webb is now director of policy at the Royal London pensions company.

Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams, was made a Companion of Honour to mark more than 50 years in political life. Lady Williams, was one of the so-called "Gang of Four" of influential Labour politicians who split to form the Social Democrat party in 1981, which later merged with the Liberal party to form the Lib Dems.

Baroness Shirley stepped down as a Lib Dem peer in 2016 after 50 years in politics.  In the 1970s she was a cabinet minister in the Callaghan government and oversaw the growth of comprehensive schools for Labour.

Commenting on her award, Tim Farron said: “Shirley is a liberal lion. She is a hero of mine and many, many others. She is a tireless and doughty campaigner for progressive politics. Britain is a better place because of her. Her determination created the enlightened comprehensive education system we have today.

“Shirley is also an inspiration for female politicians across the world. She is a trailblazer who has shown girls, like my own, that they can do anything they want to with skill, determination and passion.”

Sarah Olney added: "I'm delighted to see Shirley Williams honoured in this way, for her service to liberal politics in the U.K. She continues to inspire a new generation of Liberal Democrats and I feel privileged to follow in her footsteps as a female Lib Dem MP."