Civil servants to consider Goodwin title this week

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Senior civil servants are expected to meet tomorrow to consider whether to strip Sir Fred Goodwin, the former head of Royal Bank of Scotland, of his knighthood.

David Cameron announced in the House of Commons that the forfeiture committee would consider a report by the Financial Services Authority into the collapse of RBS as part of their deliberations. But the committee, which is chaired by Sir Robert Kerslake, the head of the civil service, is unlikely to make a final decision for several weeks.

Sources close to the committee said it is constrained by rules that only allow it to remove honours if the recipient has been jailed for a criminal offence or struck off by their relevant professional body for "actions or failures" directly relevant to the granting of the honour.

Neither of these would apply to Sir Fred – despite calls from across the political spectrum for him to be stripped of his knighthood. It is understood that the committee is likely to go away and ask for more evidence before making a decision.

"This is going to happen but not imminently," one source said. "It is not as straight forward as just making it happen – there are rules which have to be followed."

It is possible that the committee may try to argue that the FSA's report into the near-collapse of RBS amounted to censure of Sir Fred of the kind that could trigger the revoking of his knighthood.

It comes as the RBS board met yesterday to discuss the bonus for his successor, Stephen Hester. No announcement on bonus levels is expected until next month but Downing Street has made it clear it expects the level of any award to be significantly less than last year – a figure below £1m.

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