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How will Fred Goodwin’s knighthood status be decided?

The honours forfeiture committee has no formal legal basis but is set up to ensure the awards system is not brought into disrepute

The honours foreiture committee was established to ensure that the system of knightoods, peerages and other awards were “not brought into disrepute”.

It is composed of senior civil servants and has no formal legal basis. It meets at least once a year to review individual cases brought to its attention, and general policy about how the system should operate.

The threshold of public disgrace required to trigger an assessment of whether an individual should have his or her honour withdrawn is based on whether he or she has either:

• Been found guilty by the courts of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than three months, or;

• Been censured or struck off by the relevant regulatory authority or professional body for actions or failures to act which are directly relevant to the granting of the honour.

The committee’s members include: the cabinet secretary and head of the home civil service, the permanent secretaries at the Home Office and Scottish government, the Treasury solicitor and HM procurator general and the head of honours and appointments secretariat at the Cabinet Office.

The committee’s recommendations are submitted to the Queen through the prime minister. Any decisions on forfeiture are formally published in the London Gazette.

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