Green’s title under review as 114 BHS stores face closure
July 23 2016 11:41 PM
Sir Philip Green

Evening Standard/London

Former BHS boss Sir Philip Green could be stripped of his knighthood amid reports thousands of staff are to set to lose their jobs as all remaining stores face the axe.
A cabinet office official wrote to Labour MP Jim McMahon to confirm the honour is being reviewed in the wake of the store chain’s collapse.
It comes as Sky News reported the firm’s remaining 114 stores are set to close next month, leaving around 5,000 staff redundant, as the brand faces being wiped off the high street.
McMahon was among MPs who wrote to the Honours Forfeiture Committee calling for the knighthood to be removed over anger at the way Sir Philip sold BHS to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell.
In the letter, the official wrote: “I hope you will understand that I cannot comment on the particular circumstances of Sir Philip, but I can assure you that the case is being reviewed.”
A spokesman for Sir Philip declined to comment.
The disclosure comes just days before publication of what is expected to be a damning joint report by two commons select committees on the store chain’s collapse.
A cabinet Office spokesman said: “Applications for forfeiture are considered by an independent committee.
“They have been clear that they will not consider reviewing an honour until any formal reviews or investigations which establish the facts of a case have been completed. However, we continue to keep the case under review.”
Up to 11,000 BHS staff face losing their jobs unless a buyer is found for the company, which collapsed in April when the chain’s pension black hole rocketed to £571mn.
Last March, the Topshop tycoon controversially sold BHS for just £1 after her purchased the chain for £200mn in 2000.
Philip has come under scrutiny for that sale, along with the £400mn in dividends taken out of the firm during his 15-year ownership and his management of the pension scheme.
He told a commons inquiry committee last month that he would “fix” the pension problem at BHS.
l A former standards watchdog yesterday said a “bad smell” surrounds honours offered by prime ministers after it was reported that David Cameron wants peerages for ex-advisers.
Alistair Graham, who chaired the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said only people with public service that “genuinely merits” an honour should receive one.
He spoke after it was reported that names on Cameron’s farewell honours list were being blocked by Whitehall civil servants.
Alistair said the way the honours list had been used by a string of prime ministers undermined the system in the public’s eyes. “There has always been a bad small about it. People think it’s the PM passing honours to their cronies rather than genuinely rewarding public servants.”
Asked how Cameron’s list should be approached he said: “Civil servants must apply the same criteria they would apply for others. Do they genuinely meet the criteria of having given public service that genuinely merits a national honour?”
The Times reported that Ed Llewellyn, the ex-PM’s chief of staff, could be offered a place in the House of Lords.

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