When can we debate the apparent ambition of the Prime Minister to rival the work of King James I and David Lloyd George in degrading the honours system? A Select Committee has already criticised the Prime Minister for setting up in March this year, without the knowledge or consent of Parliament, a new Committee dominated by the Whips, which exists to give honours to MPs. The distribution of consolation prizes to sacked Ministers is likely to bring the honours system into further disrepute and ridicule.
I do not welcome what the hon. Gentleman says. In this House as elsewhere, we should honour public service. This is a mechanism for honouring public service, and I see absolutely no reason why this Members of this House should be debarred from having access to that kind of honour.
I welcome the new Leader of the House and his deputy to their posts, and as the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Mr Knight) is on the Treasury Bench, may I also congratulate him on his appointment to his new post of Vice-Chamberlain of Her Majesty’s Household, prompting the headline “MP4 drummer joins Queen”? May we have the debate on the honours system that has just been suggested, because is not giving honours to losers in a reshuffle to console them an example of the “all shall have prizes” culture that the Prime Minister claims to denigrate?
I will give the hon. Gentleman the prize of best joke of the day, if I may. I merely reiterate the point I made earlier: in this House, people give public service. It is not simply a job; it is much more than that. People do far beyond what I think people in most jobs would expect to do. They give of themselves and their time, and their families and their lives, especially when they are in government, as many Opposition Members will know from their past experiences. Being in government is an onerous and demanding task. For example, my parliamentary neighbour, my right hon. Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice), has had Front-Bench responsibilities for over 22 years. That is a dramatic contribution to public service, and I think it is right that it is properly recognised.