MPs will vote on whether to strip former BHS owner Sir Philip Green of his knighthood following the collapse of the high street retailer earlier this year.
A parliamentary debate is scheduled next week to discuss BHS’ collapse, but an amendment has now been added to that debate including a motion to strip Green of the knighthood he received in 2006. The motion was proposed by Conservative MP Richard Fuller, and Michelle Thomson, an independent MP, according to a report from the BBC.
The BBC reports that it will be the first time in history that parliament has ever debated the possible cancellation of an honour.
Green has faced intense scrutiny and criticism for the role he reportedly played in the collapse of BHS, which filed for bankruptcy in April. Green sold BHS in 2015 — just over a year before it collapsed — for £1 to businessman Dominic Chappell, a former racing driver with almost no experience of retail, who has filed for bankruptcy at least twice before buying the company.
BHS’ collapse cost more than 11,000 people their jobs, and left a black hole of more than half a billion pounds in its pensions scheme. Green was accused of “the systematic plunder of BHS,” by a parliamentary committee during a hearing in the summer.
“Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and the respective directors, advisers, and hangers-on who all got rich or richer are all culpable, with the only losers the ordinary employees and pensioners,” a report from the Work and Pensions Committee and the Business, Innovation, and Skills Select Committee found.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Fuller, one of the motion’s proposers said: “His actions at BHS were of such a nature as to make it faintly ridiculous for him to continue to warrant an award for services to retailing.”
“I’m putting forward this amendment for the simple reason that he warrants losing his knighthood,” he added.
“This is about expressing a legitimate sentiment about the way someone has behaved – it’s not populist screaming, it’s not a deal being done behind closed doors.”
Regardless of whether MPs vote to strip Green of his honour, the final decision does not lie with the House of Commons, and instead is in the hands of the Honours Forfeiture Committee, an ad hoc committee chaired by the head of the civil service.