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UK Politics

Knighthood decision a 'token gesture'


A leading union today welcomed the decision to strip former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin of his knighthood.

David Fleming, national officer of Unite, said: "It is a token gesture to strip Fred Goodwin of his knighthood, but one which will be well received by the thousands of workers who lost their jobs during his rule.

"Nonetheless this will do nothing to bring job security to the staff across the banking sector who continue to work under a culture of excess and greed at the top. Action from the Government is needed in banking reform, not simply empty rhetoric on knighthoods or shareholder activism."

A spokesman for business lobbying group the CBI said: "The business community will understand the Queen's decision to take away the knighthood awarded to Fred Goodwin for services to banking in 2004. Such an annulment is exceptional but unsurprising, given all of the circumstances."

Simon Chouffot, spokesman for the anti-poverty Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: "This is clearly the right decision, but removing one man's gong won't repair the damage done to our economy by the financial sector.

"We need our leaders to move beyond tokenism, tackle the unjust financial rewards still rampant in the City, and ensure the sector pays its share to help people hit by the economic crisis."

Tory MP David Ruffley, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, told Sky News: "This was a reckless man. He was playing with other people's money... he wasn't very good at it.

"He proved a huge disservice to the banking industry and I think what people wanted to hear was that this man was held to account."

He added: "Bizarrely there's been no criminal charges against the man, so he's not going to be in front of a jury, and there was a sense that this guy had got away scot-free and the only thing left really to show the public opprobrium was for the knighthood to be stripped."

Former Labour trade minister and ex-CBI director general Lord Digby Jones said: "I think there is the faint whiff of the lynch mob on the village green about this, but that isn't to say that the end result isn't what is right."

He told Sky News that Mr Goodwin "deserves what's come to him" after his pension deal sparked public outrage.