Brian Souter, the Stagecoach co-founder who gave £1 million to a 2000 campaign to uphold Section 28, has been honoured with a knighthood.

The 57-year-old businessman has not spoken out against gay rights in 11 years but almost 2,500 people have signed a petition calling for the honour to be rescinded.

Sir Brian was named on Saturday as a recipient in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

He co-founded Stagecoach with his sister, Ann Gloag, in 1980 and the company now has 35,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than £2 billion.

He was the leader of the Keep the Clause campaign and cited religious beliefs as his reason for supporting the ban on the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Commenting on the honour, he said: “Having started my career in public transport as a young bus conductor, I am delighted to receive this prestigious honour. However, the achievements and innovations would not have been possible without the dynamic Stagecoach team who support me and I accept this award on their behalf.”

Lesbian comedian Sue Perkins joked on Twitter: “Brian Souter is so homophobic I imagine he will refuse to bend over to accept his knighthood.”