Fred Goodwin set to be stripped of knighthood

Posted on January 22, 2012

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written for the New Statesman – words by Robert Pollard

Former RBS head could lose his knighthood as Cameron talks tough on executive pay.

David Cameron has called for the removal of Fred Goodwin’s knighthood after formally asking the honours committee to revoke the award.

The former head of RBS was given the honour as recognition for his “services to banking” but his role in the near collapse of the bank, which caused thousands of job losses, has led to calls for him to be stripped of the award.

Cameron said:

“I think it is right that there is a proper process that is followed for something of this order. There is a forfeiture committee in terms of honours that exists, and it will now examine this issue. I think it is right that it does so.

Obviously it will want to take account of the Financial Services Authority report, which I think is material and important because of what it says about the failures of RBS and what went wrong and who is responsible and the rest of it.”

Cameron’s decision to go public with the announcement is an unusual one since it breaches the confidentiality agreement between government and Whitehall. Any references to the removal of knighthoods are usually kept confidential until the forfeiture committee makes its decision.

The announcement follows his speech on the future of capitalism where he questioned the link between hard work and executive pay. It seems clear that Cameron is keen to make inroads in the debate surrounding the future of capitalism after losing ground to Ed Miliband in recent months. Miliband has made the topic a key aspect of Labour’s opposition, something Conservative strategists are keen to hijack.

Cameron also said that RBS chief executive Stephen Hester must take a lower bonus payment than the £2m he received in 2011.

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Posted in: Politics