Goodwin's knighthood on the agenda


Senior civil servants will meet this week to decide whether ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin should be stripped of his knighthood, David Cameron said today.

The work of the Honours Forfeiture Committee is usually kept under wraps but the Prime Minister told MPs he expected it to sit in the coming days.

Political pressure has been mounting for the title awarded to Sir Fred in 2004 for "services to banking" to be withdrawn over his role in the subsequent collapse of RBS.

Asked when a decision would be made, Mr Cameron said: "The Forfeiture Committee will be meeting, as I understand it, this week.

"And it will be considering all of the evidence including, as I have said before, the Financial Services Authority report into RBS and what went wrong and who was responsible."

All three main party leaders have backed a rethink, with Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg sympathetic to demands that the honour to be removed.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has explicitly called for the senior City figure to lose his "Sir" and admitted that his party was "clearly wrong" to recommend it in the first place.

But so far only six MPs have put their names to a Commons motion, tabled by Tory MP Matthew Hancock, which says it would be "perverse and unacceptable" for him to retain the knighthood.

The committee, chaired by the head of the home Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake, normally acts only when recipients of honours are jailed or struck off by professional bodies.

Mr Cameron has repeatedly suggested that the FSA's criticisms of Sir Fred's role at RBS, which had to be bailed out with £45 billion of taxpayers' money, could justify the move however.

It emerged this week that a direct criticism of the then chief executive in the final draft of the FSA report was removed at the request of his lawyers.

A reference to him having insufficient experience to run an international bank was excised from the text after complaints that it amounted to a charge of incompetence for which there was no evidence.

One of the experts who reviewed the report told MPs that it contained nothing which would expose Sir Fred to legal charges in relation to the fateful 2007 decision to buy ABN Amro, which eventually forced RBS to seek a state bailout.

But Sir David Walker told the Treasury Committee that the FSA's findings amounted to "censure".

"There is an accumulation of poor decisions which were, as the report says, poor by the standards of the time, and it is very hard to see how this can't be, in your sense, a censure of the chief executive, who was pivotal in virtually every decision that was taken," he said.

The Forfeiture Committee has previously discussed whether or not Sir Fred should lose his title - in 2009, when a Labour MP led the campaign for action.

It is thought unlikely that the Forfeiture Committee will make any decision on Sir Fred's case at this week's meeting, but a recommendation is expected within weeks rather than months.

Reconsideration of honours is normally triggered by a referral from the authority which initially nominated the individual concerned, which in Sir Fred's case was the Scottish Executive.

The committee does not call witnesses to give oral evidence, but has the discretion to look at whatever documentary evidence it chooses. There is no requirement to give Sir Fred an opportunity to defend himself.

If it recommends removal of the knighthood, its decision will be passed on to the Prime Minister to be communicated to the Queen. Mr Cameron does not have the option of rejecting the recommendation, and while the Queen could theoretically do so, in practice she invariably follows the committee's advice.

A notice of withdrawal of the honour would then be published in the London Gazette.

The Cabinet Office declined to reveal when this week the committee will meet.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing