Ex-RBS chief 'should lose knighthood'

RBS' Sir Fred Goodwin before Treasury commitee today
RBS' Sir Fred Goodwin before Treasury commitee today

By Alex Stevenson

Former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin should have his knighthood revoked, an MP has said.

Gordon Prentice told politics.co.uk he considered it "wholly inappropriate" for Sir Fred to retain his knighthood after overseeing the near-downfall of Royal Bank of Scotland.

The taxpayer is set to become a majority stakeholder in the bank after the liquidity crisis threatened its survival last October. Sir Fred, who had been its chief executive for nine years, was forced from his job as a result.

"RBS has just posted the biggest corporate loss in British commercial history. The losses don't get any bigger than that," Mr Prentice told politics.co.uk.

"It seems to me wholly inappropriate and anomalous for someone to retain such a reward in these circumstances."

Were Sir Fred to have his knighthood removed the forfeiture committee, consisting of a number of senior civil servants, would have to make the recommendation to the prime minister.

But when asked by Mr Prentice whether he would recommend that the knighthood be withdrawn, Gordon Brown replied with a single sentence: "The authority to grant and cancel honours is contained in the statutes of the various orders of chivalry."

Mr Prentice, unimpressed by this, said he believed there was little chance the move would be taken to strip Sir Fred of his title. People have previously lost their honours for treason (Anthony Blunt) or corruption or fraud (Jack Lyons).

"It seems to me that people get honours all the time but very few people lose them," he added.

"There doesn't seem to be a category where someone has received an honour for services to banking. and it all turns to dust. Fred Goodwin was the man whose hand was on the tiller."

Sir Fred will appear before the Treasury select committee this morning to answer questions from MPs about the banking crisis.


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