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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lord Breaks Superinjuction On Fred Goodwin

Lord Breaks Superinjuction On Fred Goodwin

Former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin

A Lord has broken the superinjuction in place surrounding former RBS boss Fred Goodwin in the House of Lords.

Lord Stoneham, asking a question in the House of Lords on behalf of Lord Oakeshott, said: "To ask HMG what steps they will take to ensure that the public interest is taken into account in the granting of superinjuctions?"

In a supplementary question he said: "Would he accept that every taxpayer has a direct public interest in the events leading up to the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland?

"So how can it be right for a superinjunction to hide the alleged relationship between Sir Fred Goodwin and a senior colleague?

"If true, it would be a serious failure of corporate governance and not even the FSA would be allowed to know about it."

Justice minister Lord McNally replied: "I do not think it is proper for me, from this dispatch box, to comment on individual cases, some of which are before the courts."

Lord Oakeshott told Sky News: "What could be of greater public interest than the worst corporate crash in British history which cost the taxpayers billions?"

Sky's Deputy Political Editor Joey Jones said: "We have already had superinjunctions when the alleged facts are being trawled all over the internet, in particularly on Twitter, and making a mockery of superinjunctions.

"Now what we are seeing is individual parliamentarians successively chipping away at this specific superinjunction that was imposed by Sir Fred Goodwin.

"Originally it was Labour MP John Hemmings who revealed the existence of the superinjuction, which we would not have been able to talk about - and the fact it even prohibited us from saying he was a banker.

"Now you have this Lib Dem peer going further and revealing further details of it, suggesting it is regarding an alleged affair with a colleague and obviously this will infuriate Fred Goodwin.

"But he [Lord Oakeshott] does have absolute privilege to stand up in Parliament and say these things."

Fred Goodwin was the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland from 2000 until October 2008.

He stood down in January 2009, just a month before the bank announced its total losses for 2008 were £24.1bn - the largest annual loss in UK corporate history.

UPDATE: More on the story from the Independent.

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