Honours for the luvvies, and it's arise Sir Geoff

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The Independent Online
JOHN MORTIMER, the pre-eminent Labour "luvvy" and creator of Rumpole, is one of three knights of London theatreland in Tony Blair's second honours list today.

David Hare, the playwright, and Ian Holm, the actor, are also knighted in the Birthday Honours list, and Peter Brook, the Paris-based theatre director, is made a Companion of Honour, a restricted award for service of conspicuous national importance.

Other headline honours include peerages for Kathleen Richardson, the Free Church minister and the first ordained woman to go to the Lords, and Sir Colin Marshall, chairman of British Airways. There are knighthoods for the BBC's John Birt, England's 1966 World Cup star Geoff Hurst, John Browne, chief executive of BP, Stuart Hampson, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, and John Eliot Gardiner, the conductor.

But the Prime Minister's official spokesman argued that greater prominence and honour was being directed towards people in front-line public service, like education and health - and that in future that drive would move into other prime areas of policy, like law and order and the environment.

He said the Prime Minister wanted peerages and knighthoods to be a measure of the contribution people were making in significant areas of public life. "The system is changing," he promised.

In descending order of rank, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) include Victoria Glendinning, the writer, June Whitfield, the actress, and Barry Norman, the BBC film critic.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) include Leslie Phillips, the actor, Wayne Sleep, the dancer, Bruce Forsyth, the entertainer, and Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell, the athletes. Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) include Alec Stewart, the cricketer, Lennox Lewis, the boxer, and Peter Cattaneo, director of The Full Monty.

The list contains 976 honours, selected from 10 times as many nominations, 40 per cent of which came from members of the public. Up to two dozen offers of honours were refused.

Queen's Birthday Honours, Review, pages 8-9