HC Deb 20 July 1965 vol 716 cc1338-9
Q4. Mr. Hamling

asked the Prime Minister what representations he has received on the procedure followed by Departments in submitting names for the Honours List; and what reply he has sent.

The Prime Minister

No representations on Departmental procedure have reached me. The second part of the Question therefore does not arise.

Mr. Hamling

I recognise that the obvious supplementaries will be out of order. Will my right hon. Friend give instructions to the Departments concerned to end the whole system of honours?

The Prime Minister

I had not thought of going that far. Certainly, some of the recent comments on recent Honours Lists did not apply to that part of the Honours Lists for which the Departments of State are responsible.

Q6. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for reviewing and modernising the Departmental machinery for the submitting of names for Honours Lists.

The Prime Minister

The Departmental machinery is always under review, and I do not consider that any special action is called for.

Mr. Hamilton

Until my right hon. Friend's conversion to the need for abolishing this ridiculous institution altogether, may I ask him to consider publishing in the OFFICIAL REPORT some details of how the Departmental machinery works, in view of the increasing evidence that Departments in general are awarding honours for services which are more apparent than real?

The Prime Minister

I think that the Departmental procedures work very well. Certainly, one of the big developments in the last few months has been the fact that, as a result of Departmental procedures, we are now able to identify a considerable number of names in the submissions which relate to successful work in export markets. The export citation is of great value and this has come out of the Departmental procedures.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Can the Prime Minister give the House the assurance that, in a future list, he will include the name of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) and, preferably, send him upstairs?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is out of order.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a large number of people in this country who deserve honour and to whom it is very difficult to find a way of giving public recognition, except by some system of this kind? While there may have been abuses, other countries, like Russia, which have attempted to find new methods have come back to the Order of Lenin and devices of this kind, because people do things for which they deserve public honour and may not be rewarded in cash.

The Prime Minister

This is true of very large numbers of our fellow citizens. They do tremendous work in local authority work and in social service and public service generally, with no hope of reward. When, to the existing Honours system, is added the Queen's Award for Industry in respect of exports and technological advance, I think that the Honours system will be very much justified by results.