News In Depth
Goodwin shaming 'tawdry' - Darling
Alistair Darling has criticised the "tawdry" treatment meted out to Fred Goodwin after the banker was humiliatingly stripped of his knighthood.
The former chancellor voiced distaste at the way Mr Goodwin had been singled out by the Government, while other senior figures escaped punishment.
The award was "cancelled and annulled" by the Queen after a key committee found the ex-Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss had brought the honours system into "disrepute".
Writing in The Times, Mr Darling, who as chancellor led negotiations over the RBS bailout, insisted: "There is something tawdry about the Government directing its fire at Fred Goodwin alone; if it's right to annul his knighthood, what about the honours of others who were involved in RBS and HBoS?"
Mr Goodwin received his knighthood for services to banking under the Labour government, before guiding RBS to the brink of collapse in 2008.
Honours are usually only removed from individuals who have been convicted and jailed.
But the Cabinet Office said the scale of the RBS disaster - necessitating a ?45 billion bailout from the taxpayer - made the case "exceptional".
"Both the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury Select Committee have investigated the reasons for this failure and its consequences," the department said in a statement.
"They are clear that the failure of RBS played an important role in the financial crisis of 2008-9 which, together with other macroeconomic factors, triggered the worst recession in the UK since the Second World War and imposed significant direct costs on British taxpayers and businesses.
"Fred Goodwin was the dominant decision maker at RBS at the time.
"In reaching this decision, it was recognised that widespread concern about Fred Goodwin's decisions meant that the retention of a Knighthood for 'services to banking' could not be sustained."