Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has called for all former prime ministers to be knighted with the highest possible ranking, just as Tony Blair was in the New Year’s Honours.
Sir Tony was appointed as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry, with the honour from the Queen regularly bestowed upon past prime ministers including most recently Sir John Major.
Sir Lindsay told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, however, it should be given to all ex-PMs including David Cameron because it is “one of the toughest jobs in the world”.
“One of the toughest jobs in the world”
“Whatever people might think, it is one of the toughest jobs in the world and I think it is respectful and it is the right thing to do, whether it is to Tony Blair or to David Cameron. They should all be offered that knighthood when they finish as prime minister,” the Chorley MP said.
“I would say if you’ve been prime minister of this country, I do believe the country should recognise the service they’ve given,” Sir Lindsay added.
“It is not about politics, it is about the position they have held in this country: It’s about the position and it’s the respect that we show to those people who’ve led this country.
“And I think it’s a fitting tribute to the job they’ve carried out.”
Sir Tony, who left Downing Street more than 14 years ago, was one of three new appointments announced by the palace alongside Baroness Valerie Amos and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and made without prime ministerial advice, and are usually announced on St George’s Day, April 23, but the monarch can do so at any time, and chose this year to coincide with the New Year’s Honours.
They are for life unless a Knight or Lady Companion offends against certain “points of reproach”.
Founded in 1348 by Edward III, the Garter is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement.
There are now 21 non-royal companions in the order out of a maximum of 24.