MPs say OBE should be scrapped

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Indy Politics

The order of the British Empire should be scrapped and replaced with an honour more in keeping with modern Britain, a cross-party committee of MPs will tell Tony Blair next week.

The MPs say that the reference to the Empire is outdated and the honour should be renamed the Order of Britain or something with more meaning. The committee, chaired by Dr Tony Wright, a senior Labour backbencher, will call for a radical shake-up of the awards system after leaks revealed that Professor Colin Blakemore, the eminent scientist, was excluded from honours because of his "controversial" use of vivisection.

In evidence to the Commons Public Administration Committee, John Major, the former prime minister, called the system "distasteful".

The Commons committee will urge Mr Blair to reform the system, with fewer automatic honours for the "great and good", including civil servants.