New Years Honours: Ken Livingstone turned down CBE

19:37 29 December 2012

Ken Livingstone turned down a CBE. File picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Ken Livingstone turned down a CBE. File picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was offered a CBE in the New Year Honours but turned it down, he has revealed.

He turned down a gong for services to the Olympics because he does not think politicians should get honours.

The 67-year-old said on his LBC Radio show today: “I was offered a CBE.

“I don’t believe politicians should get honours. You had this thing for years that any Tory MP who survived in house for 20 years automatically got a knighthood.

“You get the really disfiguring thing, these people who give thirty or fifty thousand pounds to a political party and then get an honour.

“I was paid very good money to be the Mayor of London and nothing beats the recognition you get when the people of the city elect you in the first place.”

Mr Livingstone was Mayor of London from 2000 to 2008 and helped secure the Olympics for the capital.

He said the gong, which he had only told his wife about today, would have been for his services to the Olympics, not to politics or news.

But he said he did not need an honour for his efforts, adding: “The pleasure I get is seeing it all worked.

“We promised the IOC (International Olympic Committee) what would be the best Olympics ever and that’s what they got.

“I just don’t believe politicians should get all these gongs - someone who’s done vast amounts in the voluntary sector, I’ve no problem with all of that.”

The New Year Honours were dominated by the 2012 Games, with Olympians, Paralympians, and backroom staff behind the highly-successful London 2012 recognised for their efforts.

Mr Livingstone is not the only high-profile name missing from the roll - Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, who masterminded the £27million opening ceremony, is said to have turned down an honour, while Hollywood film-maker Stephen Daldry, head of the Olympics ceremonies, is also absent.

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