Campaigners last night demanded to know why some tax- avoiding celebrities have been handed honours but others are blacklisted.
Renewed questions about ‘double standards’ in the honours system followed the revelation that the shadowy Whitehall honours committee has a secret list of selection criteria, including whether nominees have invested in controversial tax avoidance schemes.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the rules have been secretly in place for 13 years, perhaps explaining the failure of some popular celebrities to win awards.
Among them is David Beckham who is thought to have had his knighthood blocked because of his involvement in a £700 million tax relief scheme that was later deemed to have broken the rules.
David Beckham is thought to have had a knighthood blocked because of his involvement in a tax relief scheme. The committee approved an OBE to Victoria (pictured together this week)
However, the same honours committee last year approved an OBE to his wife, Victoria, despite her also being embroiled in the controversy over their tax affairs.
Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Gary Barlow and broadcaster Kate Adie are among others who have received honours in recent years despite being mired in controversy over tax avoidance schemes.
And Sir Philip Green received a knighthood in 2006 – after the criteria were introduced – despite his firm paying a £1.2 billion dividend to his wife, Tina, who lives in Monaco and pays no UK tax.
Last night, Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: ‘There is a total lack of consistency in how the rules are being