'Gongs' to come with badge of honour

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Indy Politics

Honours winners are to be given a small badge or brooch to show that they have earned a "gong" for their public service, the Prime Minister will announce later this week.

The aim is to make the honours more "accessible" to ordinary people and the announcement will coincide with the publication of the 2007 New Year Honours list.

The Queen presents those she honours with a medal on a ribbon, but they have never had any insignia they could wear on their lapels to show they have won awards until now.

In the days of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had lapel badges for those awarded the Order of Lenin. In the US, the Purple Heart - a military medal for those who have been wounded while serving - comes with a lapel pin. Members of the Légion d'honneur - the highest order in France - are allowed to wear a small rosette or ribbon.

The idea of a small British insignia came from John Major when he was Prime Minister. It was compared by critics to the Blue Peter Badge for appearing on the BBC children's TV show. But his idea was backed by the Commons Select Committee on Public Administration and Sir Hayden Phillips when they recommended reforms to the honours system two years ago.

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