HC Deb 18 June 1964 vol 696 cc1480-1
Q9. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Prime Minister if he will define the phrase, political services, as it is used by him in preparing his list for honours.

The Prime Minister

Like my predecessors, I have adopted the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee's interpretation, namely, "service to a political party".

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman imagine that he has defined in that Answer what is meant by "political services"? Will he explain to the House how from time to time honours are awarded to Members of the Tory Party who have performed no particular service except to keep their mouths shut? [Laughter.] In view of that derisory interruption, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that I have never asked for any honours nor do I need them? What is the qualification for making anybody a knight or baronet? Will he explain this, because the public are intensely interested in it. Will he give an assurance that in future, particularly on the Dissolution, he will refrain from embarking on what is an archaic and farcical inanity?

The Prime Minister

I consulted the precedents which I thought were most respectable. While it is true that under the Labour Government they did not make many political baronets, I have looked up the last four honours lists under the Labour Government and 75 per cent. of the peerages were for political services.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. The reason for my stopping further supplementary questions is that this Question was asked after 3.30 p.m. by mistake. I thought that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) intended to ask a supplementary question on the previous Question.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the answer, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjounment.