Cancer campaigner and former Watchdog presenter Lynn Faulds Woods says she couldn't accept an MBE because it would be hypocritical of her

Former Watchdog presenter Lynn Faulds Woods has declined an MBE because she said she would have been a ‘hypocrite’ if she had accepted.

Speaking to the BBC, the consumer safety and cancer campaigner acknowledged she may be deserving of an honour, but couldn’t accept it while the word ‘Empire’ was associated with them.

She said: “I would love to have an honour if it didn’t have the word ’empire’ on the end of it. We don’t have an empire, in my opinion.

“I think honours are really important and should be given to people who have done really good stuff.

“And I’ve changed laws and I’ve helped saved a lot of people’s lives, so maybe I’m deserving of an honour, but I just wouldn’t accept it while we still have party donors donating huge amounts of money and getting an honour.”

Lynn, who is married to ITV journalist John Stapleton, presented Watchdog between 1985 and 1993 and was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer at the time.

She continued: “We’re a very backward-looking country at the moment.

“We shouldn’t have lords and ladies and sirs. We should give people honours, yes, because plenty of people deserve them, including, I hope, myself.

“But it’s not a fair system.”

Her nomination came after she chaired a government independent review into the UK’s system for the recall of unsafe products, which she fears has now been ‘kicked into the long grass’.

She said she did not know who put her name forward for the honour, but believed it was related to her disappointment that no action had been taken since the review was published in February.

She isn’t the first TV personality to turn down a royal honour. Actor Jim Broadbent said no to an OBE in 2012, while Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Jon Snow, John Cleese and Alan Bennett have all refused them.