Sports Minister Richard Caborn has defended the decision to give England's cricketers MBEs and OBEs for winning the 2005 Ashes.
Vaughan was awarded an OBE for his part in the 2005 Ashes
England's series win has been followed by a dismal defence of the urn and prompted accusations that the awarding of the honours was somewhat premature.
But Caborn insisted the awards had been richly deserved.
"These were fantastic achievements and were duly recognised," Caborn told BBC Radio Five Live.
England captain Michael Vaughan, coach Duncan Fletcher, chairman of selectors David Graveney and manager Phil Neale were all awarded OBEs, while the rest of the players were awarded MBEs.
England's Rugby World Cup winners of 2003 were also rewarded en masse, including a knighthood for coach Clive Woodward
"This nation was lifted by winning the Ashes - it was a fantastic feat, as was winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003," said Caborn.
Batsman Paul Collingwood, who was drafted into the England side for the final Test in 2005 after an injury to bowler Simon Jones, was one of the MBE recipients.
And Australia legend Shane Warne ridiculed Collingwood in Sydney on Wednesday during a sledging incident on day three of the final Test, sparking renewed debate about the decision to honour the players.
But Caborn joked: "If Shane Warne wants an MBE, he can give me a call!"
The stump microphone at the Sydney Cricket Ground had overheard Warne telling Collingwood: "You got an MBE, right? For scoring seven at the Oval?"
And after the close of play Warne, who is playing in his last Test match, admitted: "A few of them decided to have a bit of a say.
"That's fair enough. No drama. It just made me concentrate a bit more. Some days it works, some days it doesn't."