Give Queen the Nobel Peace Prize, says Labour MP Frank Field

The Times - 09 Apr 2018

A veteran Labour MP has welcomed the suggestion that the Queen should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for more than 60 years service to the Commonwealth.

Several smaller Commonwealth countries are thought to be in talks to nominate the Queen for the award, and the proposal is said to be likely to be discussed in the margins at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London next week.

Frank Field, the MP who came up with the idea of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, an initiative to preserve forests in Commonwealth countries, said: “I think it is a rather good idea. If she is not going to get it on that record — given the special nature of the Commonwealth, which could be such a force for peaceful change — then who would?”

A source told The Daily Telegraph: “It is being discussed by different high commissioners. They want to nominate her for what she has done for the Commonwealth.”

Lord Howell of Guildford, a former foreign office minister, and the president of the Royal Commonwealth Society, said: “I think it is a good idea.”

Ministers are said to be privately supporting the initiative, with one quoted as saying: “It is a lovely idea and it would be great if it happens.”

The source added that there was a formal nomination process. “If someone nominates her and she is successful, I think the whole country would be thrilled to bits and consider her fully deserving.”

Mr Field added that the Queen deserved the prize for her “determined diplomacy in keeping the Commonwealth alive and functioning”. He said: “British politicians do not understand the value of the Commonwealth. We have only grasped a small amount of what its potential is.”

The annual Peace Prize is awarded to the person who is judged to “have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

Nominations — which can be made by MPs and some university professors, among others — close on January 31 each year. This year there are 329 candidates — 216 individuals and 113 organisations. It is the second highest number ever; the record of 376 was set in 2016. Nominees are not publicly named, or told they are being considered for the prize.

Commonwealth leaders are said to have discussed the Queen’s nomination, to recognise her leadership of the organisation since 1952, at the last Commonwealth summit in Malta in 2015.

The biennial Commonwealth summit, starting on April 16, was last held in the UK in 1997 and is expected to be the last to be personally attended by the Queen, who will be 92 on April 21.

In 1990, President Kaunda of Zambia nominated Princess Anne for her work leading Save the Children. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Russian president, won that year.

Four US presidents have won the prize, including Barack Obama in 2009, while Queen Sofia of Spain was one of the nominees in 2015 for her work supporting Alzheimer’s research.

Valentine Low, The Times