Major fury over block on `gongs'

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Indy Politics
The Queen's Birthday Honours list was overshadowed last night by a row between John Major and Tony Blair over a list of Tory "gongs for the boys".

Mr Major was said to be "very annoyed" Mr Blair had refused to submit to the Queen a list of political honours to Conservative MPs and party workers for services to the party.

Mr Blair's aides said last night Mr Major had left the list for Mr Blair when he vacated Downing Street after the election. "It was John Major's list but it was returned. It is not true to say that he blocked it. It was not a question of vetting it."

There was a second list of official honours, which will form the basis of the Birthday Honours list. Sources close to Mr Blair said it would be "John Major's list". But in line with his refusal to propose political honours, Mr Blair refused to submit Mr Major's political honours. "He still has the Resignation Honours List. He can put who he likes in that," a source said.

Mr Major is expected to reward Tory loyalists in the Resignation List, which will be published in July. Mr Major's spokeswoman said: "They say he didn't make any political nominations. He did. If any blocking was done, it was by them." Ten former Cabinet ministers were given life peerages in a list announced in April in the election campaign. They included Kenneth Baker, Douglas Hurd and John Biffen.

The names on Mr Major's list of political honours are a secret, but may include knighthoods for such stalwarts as his party chairman, Brian Mawhinney.

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