PM scraps political honours for services to party loyalty

Political honours for loyalty to the party are to be ended by Tony Blair in a gesture to clean up a system which has been widely criticised as out-dated.

The Prime Minister will still recommend party supporters, including former Labour MPs, for peerages to boost Labour's strength in the House of Lords.

But Downing Street last night confirmed that for the first time in 18 years, the Queen's Birthday Honours List to be published shortly will contain no political honours, from either Labour or the Tories.

"We will not be making nominations for political services. It would be extremely odd if in these circumstances future Honours Lists included lots of political appointees from the Tories," said a Downing Street source.

Tory leaders were informally advised not to submit names for political honours in next month's list. John Major can make amends to his friends in his own Resignation Honours List, which is being delayed until July to avoid it becoming entangled in the Tory leadership contest.

Baroness Thatcher and Mr Major rewarded ministers they had sacked with knighthoods in recognition of their service in office - and their continuing loyalty on the backbenches. Other "knights of the shires" often received knighthoods as compensation for not gaining ministerial office.

Both Tory prime ministers also rewarded party workers with lesser honours such as MBEs. There were knighthoods and peerages for top British businessmen who were also substantial donors to party funds, although there was no evidence of honours for sale.

Mr Blair is reinstating a policy adopted by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. Sir Edward Heath reversed Wilson's ban on political "gongs," which was reinstated when Wilson returned to power in 1974 and remained until Margaret Thatcher came to power.

Mr Major opened the honours system to suggestions from members of the public, but continued the Tory tradition of political awards.

It is expected that he will resist offering peerages to former Cabinet ministers who lost their seats, such as Michael Portillo, Malcolm Rifkind, Ian Lang, Michael Forsyth and Tony Newton, to allow them to re-enter the Commons, if they choose to fight a Parliamentary seat again.

Some former ministers were dismayed on election night to see so many senior Tories losing their seats, in the knowledge that the queue for peerages had lengthened overnight. "I've no chance of getting a peerage now," said one ex-minister.

Mr Major is expected to produce a list in line with those by his predecessors, in spite of the heavy Tory losses.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible