Deputy speaker Rosie Winterton under fire over damehood
Calls for an overhaul in the honours system stepped up today as it emerged that more awards were given to members of committees supposed to hand them out.
Two recipients of this month’s Queen’s Birthday Honours were handed to people sitting on Whitehall panels that decides who should be given the award, the Daily Mail revealed last week.
Now the paper claims the practice has been going on since at least 2016 with Labour’s deputy speaker Rosie Winterton made a dame even though she was on one of the committees.
A number of civil servants were also given gongs despite being involved in the decision process. Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch and dance executive Luke Rittner received CBEs despite sitting on a relevant panel, the paper said.
However the Cabinet Office insists that candidates recuse themselves or are not even told they are up for an award, the paper said, admitting there is no suggestion of anyone using their position to win an award.
But Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life which advises the prime minister on ethical standards, said no committee members should receive awards.
"It is unusual to be sitting on an honours committee when someone nominates you for an honour," he told the Daily Mail.
"The sensible thing to do, to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest, would be for that period when they are on the committee, they should not receive an honour.
"You’d expect people on the committee to be the type of people who already have honours and are not expecting any more; or people who do not have an immediate expectation of receiving one."
A spokesman for Dame Rosie said: "Rosie Winterton was nominated by the Labour Party.
"She did not play any part in the nomination process and was not present when her nomination was discussed."