BHS '˜billionaire spiv' Philip Green set to join this dirty dozen stripped of their honours

Sir Philip Green may face being stripped of his knighthoodSir Philip Green may face being stripped of his knighthood
Sir Philip Green may face being stripped of his knighthood
Sir Philip Green has been humbled in Parliament after MPs approved a motion recommending the former BHS owner be stripped of his knighthood.

The proposal tabled in the Commons asked for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend the billionaire businessman’s knighthood is “cancelled and annulled”.

MPs backed the non-binding motion unopposed, meaning no full vote was needed.

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The decision came after a near three-hour debate in which Sir Philip faced accusations of behaving like Napoleon and Robert Maxwell, as well as being an “asset-stripper”.

Labour MP David Winnick questioned how Sir Philip was deemed worthy of a knighthood in the first place, highlighting how the tycoon had put the business in the name of his wife, who lives in Monaco.

He also said: “I see Green as a billionaire spiv, a billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood, a billionaire spiv who has shamed British capitalism, and the least we can do today is to make our views clear and strong.”

MPs also used the debate to call on Sir Philip to “fulfil his promise” to resolve the retail chain’s multimillion-pound pension fund black hole during a Commons debate.

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BHS went into administration shortly after being sold for £1 by Sir Philip, with a £571 million pension scheme deficit.

He was awarded his title in 2006 for services to retail.

Sir Philip used a recent ITV News interview to apologise to workers for the “hardship and sadness” caused by the collapse of BHS.

He added he “did everything possible” to keep the business from going under, although he admitted it was a mistake to sell it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell.

Downing Street said the question of Sir Philip’s knighthood was a matter for the independent Honours Forfeitures Committee.

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Here are 12 other disgraced public figures who have been stripped of their titles:

• Rolf Harris, March 2015

The former children’s entertainer was stripped of his CBE after being jailed for almost six years for a string of sex attacks on girls as young as seven.

Harris, 86, was given the honour by the Queen a year after painting her portrait to mark her 80th birthday. He had also previously been awarded an MBE and an OBE.

• Stuart Hall, October 2013

The former It’s A Knockout presenter was made an OBE in 2012 for services to broadcasting and charity.

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But the Queen directed it be cancelled after Hall, then 83, was handed a 30-month jail term for sexually abusing 13 victims, one as young as nine, over a period of nearly 20 years.

• Vicky Pryce, July 2013

The economist was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2009 in recognition of her contribution as head of the Government economic service.

But in March 2013 she and ex-husband Chris Huhne were both jailed for eight months for swapping speeding penalty points a decade earlier so he could avoid a driving ban, which only emerged when Ms Pryce approached newspapers after Mr Huhne left her for another woman.

She was released from prison after two months but, following her conviction, her name was removed from the Order of the Bath register.

• James Crosby, June 2013

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The former HBOS chief executive, who was knighted in 2006 after leaving the bank, was stripped of the title at his own request following a scathing parliamentary report into its collapse.

• Jimmy Savile, January 2013

The television star was knighted for his services to charity in 1990 but the Honours Forfeiture Committee considered stripping him of the title posthumously when the scale of the paedophile’s crimes emerged.

The Cabinet Office later said that he had ceased to be a member of the order upon his death in 2011.

• Fred Goodwin, January 2012

Mr Goodwin received his knighthood for services to banking under the Labour government before guiding the Royal Bank of Scotland to the brink of collapse in 2008.

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While honours are usually only removed from those convicted or jailed, the Cabinet Office said the scale of the RBS disaster - necessitating a £45 billion bailout from the taxpayer - made the case “exceptional”.

• Jean Else, February 2011

“Superhead” Jean Else was made a Dame in 2001 in recognition of her transforming performance at Whalley Range High School in Manchester.

But in January 2009 she was banned from running a school after the General Teaching Council found her guilty of failing to observe minimum standards in recruiting and promoting staff.

Her honour was revoked in 2011 after she was found guilty of misconduct.

• Robert Mugabe, 2008

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Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was stripped of his honorary knighthood in 2008 over his “abuse of human rights” and “abject disregard” for democracy.

The Queen approved the annulment of Mr Mugabe’s knighthood, awarded in 1994, on the recommendation of then-foreign secretary David Miliband.

Mr Mugabe was the first foreigner to be stripped of an honorary knighthood since Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, the day before his execution by firing squad.

• “Prince” Naseem Hamed, 2007

The former WBA world featherweight champion was jailed in 2006 for 15 months and disqualified from driving for four years after a crash in May 2005 that left another man with fractures to “every major bone in his body”.

The boxer was stripped of his MBE in January 2007.

• Lester Piggott, 1988

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The former champion jockey was stripped of his OBE after he was given a three-year jail term for evading tax in 1987.

• Anthony Blunt, 1979

Art historian Anthony Blunt was a Professor of the History of Art at the University of London and Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.

What was not known was that in 1964 he had confessed to having been a member of the infamous Cambridge Five Soviet spy ring, passing information to Moscow while they worked for MI5 during the Second World War.

His secret was closely guarded for many years, but Margaret Thatcher publicly revealed his status in November 1979 and he was immediately stripped of his knighthood.

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