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Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Goodwin 'author of his own misfortune'

Was it the right decision to strip the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Fred Goodwin, of his knighthood?

Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling told the Today programme's John Humphrys that while he was not going to defend Fred Goodwin, going after one man "on a whim" and "being blown along by the wind" was "not good government".

The former chancellor said there needed to be a principle by which you judge people, adding that there were other "knights of the realm" involved in the banking crisis.

He said that he had warned Mr Goodwin that if he "held on to his pension, he would be an international scapegoat".

Former racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart, a friend of Mr Goodwin, said he was likely to be "very disappointed and sad" that he had lost this knighthood because it was, he believed, an honour bestowed "for the good things you've done in life".

He went on to say that "it sets a dangerous precedent" because it means that others who are up for honours risk having them removed "just because something else happened elsewhere at a different time".

And, adding that "the global recession didn't come from one man," Sir Jackie believed that Mr Goodwin had taken an enormous hit for it.

Meanwhile, Conservative Party deputy chairman Michael Fallon insisted this was the "right conclusion" because Mr Goodwin had been heavily criticised in a report by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and was "the dominant decision maker" in the downfall of RBS.

He denied that the decision to remove Mr Goodwin's knighthood was taken "on a whim" and said the FSA report makes clear that this was "an exceptional case".

Mr Fallon said that allowing the former RBS chief, who was at the helm during "the biggest banking failure in British history," to retain his title would "bring the whole honour of the knighthood into disrepute".

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