Call to strip Sir Fred Goodwin of his knighthood

 

An MP leading calls for Sir Fred Goodwin to be stripped of his knighthood urged the Whitehall committee which reviews honours to make a special case of the disgraced former banker today.

There were cross-party calls today for Goodwin's honour - granted for "services to banking" in 2004 - to be revoked because of the former RBS boss's role in the collapse of the bank, which had to be bailed out with £45 billion of taxpayers' money.

Prime Minister David Cameron is understood to be "sympathetic" to the calls.

But the demand may be thwarted by the rules of the Whitehall committee which makes recommendations to the Queen on the withdrawal of honours.

Officials said today that the Honours Forfeiture Committee would normally consider cases only where an individual has been jailed for more than three months or has been struck off or censured by a professional body for failings relevant to the granting of the honour.

The committee, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, reviews cases on the basis of information passed on by the Government department which originally nominated the individual - in this case the Treasury.

It does not normally consider submissions from third parties calling for honours to be removed.

The Cabinet Office said today that no proceedings had been started in the case of Sir Fred, but declined to reveal whether the committee had received any letters demanding the withdrawal of his knighthood.

Conservative MP Matthew Hancock - one of 11 MPs, peers and members of the Scottish Parliament to speak out on the issue in the Daily Mail today - said he hopes to persuade the committee to make a special case of Goodwin.

"I can't think of a better case for an exception to be made," Mr Hancock told the Press Association.

Today's demands were "a first step", and supporters of the withdrawal of the knighthood would now aim to build up a head of steam behind their demand, he said.

Mr Hancock told the Mail: "No one has ever presided over a bigger corporate disaster that has had implications for every single family in Britain than Fred Goodwin.

"The knighthood given to him by (then chancellor) Gordon Brown is inappropriate for someone who was reckless at the helm of one of Scotland's oldest institutions."

Answering questions after a speech in central London, Mr Cameron said the committee would be considering the case.

"I think it is right that there is a proper process to be followed for something of this order," he said.

"There is a Forfeiture Committee in terms of honours that exists and will now examine this issue.

"I think that it is right that it does so, it is right that there is a proper process.

"Obviously it ought to take into account the Financial Services Authority (FSA) report which I think is material and important because of what it says about the failures at RBS, who was responsible and all the rest of it.

"But there is a committee, they should do the work rather than the Prime Minister himself or herself."

PA

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