Empire medal to be brought back
Saturday 29 October 2011
A medal for local heroes scrapped by John Major in 1993 as part of his bid to make the honours system "classless" is to be revived, David Cameron has announced.
Hundreds of British Empire Medals (BEM) will be awarded from next year, as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration, in what will be seen as a fresh initiative in the Prime Minister's Big Society initiative.
Mr Cameron said too few individuals making a real difference in their areas were receiving MBEs - the honour which his predecessor as Conservative premier hoped they would receive instead.
First established in 1917, the BEM was specifically designed for those who "by virtue of their rank" did not qualify for an MBE and was seen as a working-class honour.
Mr Major, who has since been knighted, decided that the distinction had "become increasingly tenuous" and that he wanted more local people to receive their awards from the Queen herself - BEMs being awarded instead by lords lieutenant of the relevant county or local authority on her behalf.
The revived honour will also be bestowed by the lords lieutenant although recipients will be entitled to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party with others whose work has been recognised.
Around 300 a year will be bestowed, although the number is expected to be lower in the first year.
"I am delighted that we are going to start using the British Empire Medal again," said Mr Cameron, who is in Perth, Australia, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
"The medal will be handed out in recognition of the dedication and hard work so many provide to their communities.
"At the moment, the number of people being honoured for the services they provide to their local communities is disproportionately low.
"I am determined to change that and redress the balance." PA
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Charing Cross fire: Station closed and 100 evacuated over blaze on train
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...