Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, became the first recipient of the Fenner Brockway Medal, instituted this year, at the Labour Friends of India ( LFIN) annual luncheon hosted by Margaret Beckett, his successor in the Foreign Office.
Lord Fenner Brockway was an "outstanding Labour activist" born in the colonial India in 1888. He dedicated his life to campaigning for India's Independence from British rule. He became an active member of the India League and helped to establish the People's Congress Against Imperialism. He was also the founder of the Movement for Colonial Freedom, which attracted Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Chair of LFIN, Stephen Pound, MP, said Straw was the first Foreign Secretary to declare support for India's claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
The foundations laid in the Foreign Office by him continue to be "built on today, and we are reaping his and the government's vision", he added. His personal association with India was well-known.
"Straw deserves the honour named after a man who is remembered for his love for India and for campaigning for its Independence at a time when to do so was not only unfashionable but also dangerous," Pound added.
The medal was a form of thanks for his "invaluable contribution to the relationship between India and the UK".