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Sir Bob bid goes to PM; Blair hope on tribute.

Byline: By IAN HERNON

TONY Blair is to consider an alternative honour for Bob Paisley if a posthumous knighthood is ruled out by the Queen.

The move followed a massive upsurge in support for belated recognition for the man who steered Liverpool to a record-breaking three European Cupvictories.

Liverpool MP Jane Kennedy, who is backing the campaign, said she would discuss an alternative honour with the PM if the knighthood is vetoed A Downing Street e-petition launched by fan Ian Little is approaching 35,000 signatures - boosted by ECHO readers - putting it in the top five out of more than 4,400 on the No 10website.

The issue was raised during Prime Minister's question time by Wavertree's Ms Kennedy, a sponsor of a Parliamentary motion backing the e-petition.

Mr Blair told her: "I look forward to reading the motion."

He also revealed that he had been glued to TV coverage of Tuesday night's match in which Liverpool qualified for the European champion's league quarter finals along with Chelsea.

Since the e-petition took off constitutional experts have been agonising over whether an unprecedented posthumous knighthood was possible.

At the weekend the website was briefly closed by Whitehall red tape merchants, but reinstated on Sunday due to overwhelming public support.

Mrs Kennedy said: "I am delighted that the PM has promised to scrutinise the Paisley motion.

"I am now writing to him to ask whether, if a knighthood is ruled out, another honour could be conferred which Bob's widow could pick up at BuckinghamPalace.

"There must be a way of honouring the memory of Bob and of recognising the standing he has not just in the UK, but also across the world."

Commons constitutional experts said there is nothing in regulations to rule the knighthood out.

Paisley's Reds won the three European titles, six league championships and several other championships.

When he died in 1996 he had only been awarded an OBE.

Supporters of the e-petition have until next Tuesday to register their support by logging onto http://petitions.pm.gov/ Sir Bob Paisley.

news@liverpoolecho.co.uk

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SUPPORT: Tony Blair; SUCCESS: Liverpool manager Bob Paisley
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2007
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