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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Lingerie firm founder rejects MBE
Serena Rees and Joseph Corre
Serena Rees has accepted her MBE but Joseph Corre rejected his
Joseph Corre, co-founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, has rejected his MBE because he said he finds Prime Minister Tony Blair "morally corrupt".

Mr Corre was awarded the MBE for his services to the fashion industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

His criticism of Mr Blair, who steps down as the most electorally successful Labour PM next week, focused on Iraq, Afghanistan and civil liberties.

The firm's co-founder Serena Rees, who is his wife, has accepted her MBE.

'Gave me a kick'

Mr Corre said his decision "in no way reflects on my opinion of the Queen whom I respect and would be honoured to have as a customer".

Although he was initially flattered to have his work recognised - "it even gave me a kick to imagine what some of the bureaucrats and censors I have had to fight up to now must think" - he later decided to reject the honour.

He just needs to let someone know and they won't invite him to the investiture where the Queen hands out the medals
Cabinet Office spokeswoman

He said the prime minister had been involved in events such as Afghanistan and Iraq that had led to suffering, as well as eroding civil liberties in the UK.

"To accept this MBE as an honour would mean to me that I would have to accept the prime minister as someone capable of giving an honour i.e. an honourable man, which I cannot find it in my heart to do."

Ms Rees, 38, was "delighted" with her own MBE and would not be rejecting it, a company spokeswoman said.

"It is a great achievement for her personally and indeed for the company that her contribution to fashion has been acknowledged in this way."

The Cabinet Office said Mr Corre had previously written to accept the honour. Neither its ceremonial secretariat nor Downing St had been notified of his subsequent rejection.

"We have not heard anything from him. However if he wants to go back on it, it is a fairly easy process.

"He just needs to let someone know and they won't invite him to the investiture where the Queen hands out the medals," a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said.

Mr Corre, 39, is the son of fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, who was awarded her honour in the 2006 New Year Honours.

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