Blair's Iraq 'honours list' sparks protest

 

The British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair has provoked fresh controversy over the war with a "special Iraq Honours list".

Mr Blair's plans to reward civil servants for their work are revealed in a

Whitehall memo leaked to The Sunday Times.

Officials who worked on the flawed weapons dossier could be in line for awards, the paper reports.

However, No 10 said Mr Blair wanted to recognise the sacrifice of those working "at the sharp end" in Iraq.

The PM believes some 50 non-military officials should be given knighthoods, OBEs, MBEs and other awards, according to the memo.

The names are expected to be announced in the New Year honours list after being decided by a secretive Whitehall committee.

Sir David Omand, the national security co-ordinator responsible for overseeing the intelligence services, is reportedly among the recommendations.

Ms Jane Marriott, who was at the centre of Government assessments about Saddam's arsenal as head of the Foreign Office's nuclear proliferation department, is said to be another.

Shadow Home Secretary Mr David Davis said: "I know of no precedent of there being a ration of honours for promoting the Prime Minster's policy.

"While there may be worthy folk who have done work in Iraq, the idea of rewarding civil servants for a policy that has failed on this scale is hard to understand."

The plan was "completely at odds" with recommendations made by the Commons Public Administration Select Committee earlier this year, he added.