Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925
|Long title||An Act for the prevention of abuses in connection with the Grant of Honours.|
|Citation||15 & 16 Geo. 5 c. 72|
|Introduced by||The Marquess of Salisbury|
|Territorial extent||United Kingdom|
|Royal assent||7 August 1925|
|Commencement||7 August 1925|
|Relates to||Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, Bribery Act 2010|
Status: Current legislation
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Text of the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk|
The Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, that makes the sale of peerages or any other honours illegal. It was brought in after the Coalition government of David Lloyd George was severely embarrassed by the sale of honours, for the personal financial gain of the Prime Minister. The practice was legal and dated back several decades; Lloyd George made the practice more systematic and more brazen, charging £10,000 for a knighthood, £30,000 for baronetcy, and £50,000 upwards for a peerage. Prime Minister Lloyd George in mid-1922 was fast losing his political support, and his sales were denounced in the House of Lords as an abuse of the Prime Minister's powers of patronage.
Only one person has ever been convicted under the Act —Maundy Gregory, Lloyd George's "honours broker", in 1933— whose same behaviour in 1918 was the main cause of the Act in the first place. Gregory's 1933 conviction was secured over his attempts to broker the selling of Vatican knighthoods in the UK. To this date, the Act has never been successfully used to convict anyone involved in the sale of UK honours.
2006: Cash for honours
In March 2006, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that, following complaints by the Scottish National Party and others, they were investigating possible breaches of the Act. A total of £14 million in loans was given by wealthy individuals to Labour during the 2005 general election campaign and four of these men were subsequently nominated for Life Peerages.
- Short title as conferred by s. 2 of the Act; the modern convention for the citation of short titles omits the comma after the word "Act"
- T. A. Jenkins, "The funding of the Liberal Unionist party and the honours system." English Historical Review 105.417 (1990): 920-938.
- Harold J. Hanham, "The sale of honours in late Victorian England." Victorian Studies 3#3 (1960): 277-289.
- Peter Rowland, Lloyd George (1975) p 448.
- Travis L. Crosby (2014). The Unknown David Lloyd George: A Statesman in Conflict. I.B.Tauris. p. 330.
- Jenkins, T. A. "The funding of the Liberal Unionist party and the honours system." English Historical Review 105.417 (1990): 920-938. in JSTOR
- Hanham, H.J. "The sale of honours in late Victorian England." Victorian Studies 3#3 (1960): 277-289. in JSTOR
- Rowland, Peter. Lloyd George (1975) pp 447-48, 574-78, 631-33.
- Text of the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk
- BBC News article about the announcement of the investigation
- Posting from the blog of BBC News political editor Nick Robinson about the Act and the possibility of prosecutions, 21 March 2006.
- Parliamentary briefing document on the awarding of Honours, September 2004 (PDF document)
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