updated 04/21/2004 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/20/1998 AT 12:00 AM ET
Stories are swelling in Britain that – at last – Sean Connery, 69, will be knighted in the traditional New Year’s honors list. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office declined comment on the status of the former James Bond star, however. Connery’s knighthood would require a change of heart by Blair’s Labour government, given Connery’s high-profile support for the Scottish National Party. Two years ago Connery – who last month was made an honorary American citizen by President Clinton and who, only a few year’s ago, was named PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive – sparked political debate when it was reported that the Labourites opposed his knighthood.