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Winner takes nothing

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-05-29

Michael Winner

Michael Winner

Jewish film director Michael Winner has turned down an OBE in the Queen's 80th birthday honours list and has angered cleaners by claiming "it's the sort of award they give to toilet cleaners."

The outspoken 70-year-old film maker who writes a weekly food column for The Sunday Times as well as appearing in commercials says he doesn't do his work for getting recognition.

For over 20 years, he has been campaigning for officers who have been killed while on duty and was also key in establishing The National Police Memorial in central London.

"I’m very glad that they recognise my considerable skills as a toilet cleaner. But I didn’t do my stuff for the police to get anything and I really don’t care if I get anything or not.”

"His remarks could cause offence to thousands of people who, day in day out, do a fantastic job for the British public. It's another case of someone opening their mouth and disengaging their brain," a spokesperson for the Transport and General Workers' Union told the Guardian.

Winner also attacked some of the recipients who accept the awards. "I can’t see any reason to accept it. Of course some decent people get it. But when you look at the rubbish who are getting these awards and the absolute non-service they have given to the nation other than financing or working for political parties, you say, ‘What company am I in?’