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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
MPs to criticise honours system
David and Victoria Beckham
Beckham's OBE could be renamed
A Commons committee which has conducted an inquiry into the honours system is expected to recommend sweeping changes.

The cross-party Public Administration Committee is understood to favour a reduction in the number of honours and the removal of "empire", from titles.

Its report due on Tuesday is likely to anger MPs who believe the system is an important British tradition.

It is expected to conclude the present honours system is over-complicated, secretive and out of date.

The report, entitled A Matter of Honour: Reforming Our Honours System, is set to say honours unfairly favour civil servants, diplomats and the armed forces.

The following specific reforms are expected to be proposed:

  • phasing out of knighthoods and dame hoods

  • renaming the "anachronistic" Order of the British Empire to the Order of British Excellence

  • scrapping honours exclusively given to civil servants and diplomats

  • reducing the number of honours from 16 to four

  • setting up an independent honours commission to remove the suspicion the system is used for political means

The BBC's Gary O'Donoghue
"British monarchs have been bestowing honours on their subjects for hundreds of years"

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