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A knighthood for Bernie?

NEWS STORY
11/06/2007

According to our usually reliable sources, Bernie Ecclestone is to be nominated for a Knighthood in Prime Minister Tony Blair's final honours list before he steps down later this month.

If true, this would be highly ironic, for it was Blair's dealings with Ecclestone just weeks after coming to power in 1997 that set the tone - no pun intended - for a government that has been surrounded by sleaze and controversy throughout his ten-year reign.

At that time, Blair's Labour government admitted to accepting a 1m donation from Ecclestone at a time when the Formula One supremo was attempting to get the sport exempted from the (then) forthcoming tobacco advertising ban.

Following widespread criticism the government handed back the donation, however, the sport was exempted from the ban nonetheless.

With Ecclestone getting Blair's reign off to the worst possible start, there would be raised eyebrows - to say the very least - should the Prime Minister honour the Englishman in his final honours list, especially at a time when there is serious talk of legal proceedings against him as the so-called ' cash for honours' investigation continues.

It's understood that Ecclestone, who is known to have refused honours in the past, is in line for the Knighthood not for his services to Formula One but his assistance in 'opening doors' when the government was attempting to secure the 2012 Olympics in London.

Certainly, for his sterling work for the sport, charity and indeed the country, Ecclestone deserves something, though it would be sad to see such recognition tarnished due to Blair's reputation.

Ironically, a Knighthood, should he accept it, would certainly put Ecclestone in a difficult situation with regards the British Grand Prix, for having been made a knight of the realm it wouldn't look too good if he were to remove the race from the calendar. Ecclestone recently called on the government to financially assist the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) which owns Silverstone.

Final thought: The Queen says to Bernie, "Arise Sir Bernard... oh, you are standing. Sorry!"

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