The age old tradition of the departing Prime Minister dishing out honours to those they deem worthy is facing calls for it to be scrapped. Past allegations of cronyism have tainted the reputation of a few of the departing PM's, such as the scandal of Harold Wilson's Lavender List. The country waits for the Crime Prosecution Service to announce it's verdict on whether there are any charges to be brought in the Cash for Honours investigation. Is this the reason for Downing Street's agreement that Mr Blair's resignation list should be vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission? If true, it is understandable, as any further allegations of sleaze could be very damaging.
I would have thought it would be better to just avoid the situation and forget about the Honours List this time. No matter who gets selected or how well the list is vetted, there will no doubt be claims of cronyism. Of course the problem with scrapping the list is that some very deserving individuals would miss out. It's a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater but it may be the only way to avoid further damage to Tony Blair's reputation.
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said: "We do not need them and, as we know from a previous Labour prime minister, what you do with the resignation honours list can tarnish your reputation. I have no doubt the prime minister, being to some extent a keen student of history, will be aware of difficulties that can arise in relation to resignation honours lists."
Not an easy decision for Mr Blair to make, scrap the list or face further scrutiny.