Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Knighthoods for former ministers

Alan Duncan is to get a knighthood

Three former ministers who left the Government in last week's reshuffle have been given knighthoods, while veteran Kenneth Clarke - who quit the front benches after 40 years - has been made a Companion of Honour.

Alan Duncan, who resigned as International Development Minister, and Hugh Robertson, who quit the Foreign Office, are set to be knighted, as is Oliver Heald, who was sacked as Solicitor General.

News of the honours leaked out last week, when Labour's Michael Dugher accused Prime Minister David Cameron of undermining the system by using "hush-hush honours and gongs as golden goodbyes".

Mr Cameron was challenged in the Commons on Wednesday by Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds, who asked why he had now "given more knighthoods to the men he has sacked than he has given Cabinet jobs to women".

The PM retorted that it was "always interesting to take a lecture from a party that gave a knighthood to (former RBS boss) Fred Goodwin".

And he added: "I make no apology for saying that I think in public life we should recognise public service, people who have worked hard, people who have contributed to our nation, contributed to our Government. I think that is a good thing to do."

Founded by George V in 1917, the Order of the Companions of Honour rewards recognised services of national importance and is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit. The Order is made up of the sovereign, plus no more than 65 members, who may use the letters CH after their names.

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