George Freeman calls for the review of the awarding of a knighthood for Sir Philip Green, and others who bring the Honours system into disrepute

13th February 2019

George Freeman says the honours system should celebrate great public service to our nation and calls on the Prime Minister to bring in a process to strip people of that honour when they are found to have brought the system into disripute.

The honours system is designed to acknowledge and celebrate great public service to our nation. Does my right hon. Friend agree that when a small minority of recipients of honours, like Philip Green, bring the system of honours and business into disrepute by being found to have behaved disgracefully, letting down the vast majority of businesses who set the highest standards, then it is right for this party and this Government to be the first to stand up for decent standards and look at beginning a process for seeing whether people who behave in that way should be stripped of their honour?

As my hon. Friend said, the honours system recognises exceptional service and achievement in a wide range of spheres of public life, and if the recipient of an honour brings that honour into disrepute it is important that steps are taken to review that honour. There is a forfeiture process for that purpose; that includes an independent forfeiture committee which gives recommendations to me for Her Majesty’s approval. That is the process, and it is important that we have that so that when anybody who has been in receipt of an honour brings that honour into disrepute steps can be taken to review that.