Belfast Telegraph

Decision whether to strip tycoon Sir Philip Green of title must wait - watchdog

No decision on whether businessman Sir Philip Green will be stripped of his knighthood will be made until investigations into the collapse of BHS are completed, honours watchdogs have said.

Sir Jonathan Stephens, chairman of the Honours Forfeiture Committee, said what happened at the retail giant was being taken "very seriously", but consideration of the tycoon's title must wait.

He wrote to Labour MP Frank Field, who co-chaired a parliamentary probe into the BHS affair, saying: " The Government is taking the circumstances surrounding the collapse of BHS very seriously, including investigations by the Insolvency Service and the Independent Pensions Regulator.

"I believe it will be important to ensure any consideration of Sir Philip's case by the Forfeiture Committee should have the benefit of the findings of the independent inquiries into BHS by the relevant regulators."

Sir Jonathan noted in the letter to Mr Field the Commons vote calling for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood.

Labour MP David Winnick (Walsall North) raised the issue in PMQs, and said many will be aghast that the "disgraced" businessman will keep his knighthood for years.

He said: "How will the thousands of people who lost their jobs at British Homes Stores feel that it may take years before the case of Philip Green, the totally discredited and disgraced businessperson, will have his knighthood possibly withdrawn - taken away or otherwise.

"Isn't it remarkable? People lose their jobs, they suffer all the consequences and this man keeps his billions and his knighthood?"

Theresa May said the decision over whether Sir Philip is stripped of his title is one for the independent committee.

She said: "You have raised an important issue and it has been raised by many members of this House in terms of their concern about what happened at BHS and the attitude and approach that Philip Green took.

"The issue of whether a knighthood should be taken away from somebody is matter for the relevant committee that deals with it."