Will 'Fred the Shred' remain 'Sir Fred'?


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A clever parliamentary chess move at PMQs yesterday.

In between two spats between David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Conservative David Ruffley asked about the possibility that former Royal Bank of Scotland boss, Sir Fred Goodwin, (aka Fred the Shred) would be stripped of his knighthood. This was a follow on from a little-noticed exchange at Tuesday's session of the Treasury Committee.

There, Sir David Walker of the Financial Services Authority was quizzed about the FSA report into the collapse of RBS, in the depths of the credit crunch… and the Conservative Michael Fallon raised the issue of whether the criticism of Sir Fred in the report amounted to professional censure. After some humming and hawing, Sir David agreed that it did. Mr Fallon's close ally, David Ruffley sought confirmation.

Sir Fred Goodwin There have been calls to strip Sir Fred of his knighthood

The importance of this is that censure by a professional body is one of the grounds on which it is possible to strip someone of a knighthood - if the knighthood was awarded for services in the relevant area. Hence the question by Mr Ruffley: "Sir Fred Goodwin has recently been censured by the FSA in their report into the RBS shambles…can the prime minister tell the House when the Honours Forfeiture Committee will be sitting to consider stripping this man of his ill-deserved knighthood?" The prime minister replied that the committee was sitting this week.

I wonder if they will act? There's no precedent for stripping someone of a knighthood for anything less than a criminal offence - and the mandarin-heavy forfeiture committee may baulk at setting one. I would be surprised if Mr Ruffley leaves it there - he thinks retribution should be extracted, and if Sir Fred remains Sir Fred, expect some robust probing of that decision, until the reasons are given to Parliament.

Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    In a TSC session in 2010, Michael Fallon asked a Goldman Sachs spokesman: "Have banks like Goldman's not accentuated sovereign risk in countries like Greece by arranging loans for securitisation against future revenue streams that do not appear on the books...". The answer leaves a lot to be desired. Had MF been such as steward of justice, would he not have referred the matter to the FSA?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    How about Shirley Porter and her gerrymandering in the 80s under Thatcher? She was guilty, paid a fraction of her dues and is still has a title. The whole honours system is corrupt and should be scrapped in a 'modern democracy'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Geoffrey Archer didn't lose his honour even after a criminal conviction and jail time so its highly unlikely Fred will lose his.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    #5 Once again the lack of geographical education in Southerners is outstanding.

    Hadrians Wall runs from Wallsend (just outside of Newcastle) to Carlisle (roughly). The English Scottish border is 60-70 miles north of that. Between the Wall and the border are large chunks of Cumbria and Northumberland which are English counties

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Goodwin should never have been knighted.

    However Lord Archer & Dame Shirley Porter still hold titles.
    Other convicted fraudsters continue to sit in the lords.

    Lets have some consistency please


Comments 5 of 10



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