Days after a damning report criticises honours awarded for "doing the day job", Cameron recommends awards for ministers sacked in the reshuffle amid concerns that Paralympic medallists could miss out.
Five ministers who lost their government positions this week will be recommended to the Queen for honours.
Former Commons leader Sir George Young will be recommended for appointment to the order of the companions of honour, while former agriculture minister James Paice and former solicitor general Edward Garnier have been recommended for knighthoods. The prime minister also put forward former defence ministers Nick Harvey and Gerald Howarth for knighthoods.
The decision, and the timing of the announcement, will be seen as an attempt to cushion the blow of ministers losing their jobs and the prime minister was criticised by ministers for bringing the honours system into disrepute and exposing it to "ridicule".
It is also controversial in light of a recent report from the Public Administration Select Committee (PACE) that advised against honours being awarded to civil servants for "doing the day job" and criticised the influence of political considerations on honours decisions.
Sacked ministers now get knighthoods to keep them sweet. Oh Dave - our honours system is such a farce!— Sally Bercow (@SallyBercow) September 5, 2012
"It's emerged that as part of the feather-bedding and seduction that has been entered into on our behalf to persuade ministers to lose their jobs in David Cameron's reshuffle, knighthoods have been brought into play."
Read more on Jon Snow's blog>
Gongs for golds?
Following Great Britain's success in the Olympics, concerns were raised that deserving sports stars will miss out on honours because the system tends to favour civil servants rather than athletes. Great Britain and Northern Ireland have since won well over 20 Paralympic golds so far, and medallists such world record breaker Richard Whitehead [pictured above], may be tipped for honours.
While Downing Street has denied there is a quota for the honours awarded to Olympic medallists, the Whitehall committee which decides which sports star to honour, said it is unlikely that it will be unable to award every medallist.
Tanni Grey-Thompson, who sits on the committee, said in August that there is a limit on the numbers they can award each year and that it is restricted to one or two knighthoods, "a few more" CBEs and between 45 and 50 MBEs, the lowest tier of honour awarded.
If any Gold medallist goes gongless remember the failed ministers Cameron and Clegg bought off with one. The Queen should refuse to do it— Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 6, 2012
"Although there might be a little room for manoeuvre with the success of this year's Olympics and hopefully Paralympics, we are trying to manage expectation a little bit," she said last month.
Bernard Jenkin of PACE said he hoped extra sporting knighthoods would be granted if they were recommended.
"During our inquiry the line of questioning pursued by all members of the committee was in pursuit of a merit-based honours system rather than Buggins's turn," he said. "It does no harm for some to have to wait. An Olympic medal is surely worth more than any gong awarded by some mysterious committee."
The PACE report said that honours awards were at risk of being devalued if the process remained "mysterious" and the "usual suspects" benefited.
"We believe that no-one should be honoured for simply 'doing the day job', no matter what that job is,” said Mr Jenkin on behalf of the PACE.
During our inquiry the line of questioning pursued by all members of the committee was in pursuit of a merit-based honours system rather than Buggins's turn, Bernard Jenkin, PACE
"We are concerned at the perception that political considerations influence who receives an honour," the report read, adding that volunteers who serve their local community should be rewarded over politicians, civil servants and celebrities.
Honours "should not be awarded to civil servants or businessmen unless it can be demonstrated that there has been service above and beyond the call of duty," the committee said.
The prime minister's official spokesman defended the decision to recommend five ministers for honours adding: "The prime minister believes that political service is an important form of public service."
The list of honours awarded are published twice a year: on New Year's day and in June on the Queen's official birthday.
04 September 2012
29 August 2012
31 December 2011