hero of the people: Sir Fred Goodwin
knight of the realm? are you kidding?
|By Jerome Taylor|
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland who became a focal point for anger over the financial crisis, has obtained a super-injunction banning the media from identifying him as a banker.
The existence of the super-injunction was revealed today by John Hemming, a back-bench Liberal Democrat MP who tabled a question in Parliament about the gagging order.
Normally the media is forbidden from even reporting that a super-injunction exists but Parliamentary privilege allows MPs to speak on the floor of the House of Commons without risk of prosecution.
“In a secret hearing this week Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker. Will the government have a debate or a statement on freedom of speech and whether there's one rule for the rich like Fred Goodwin and one rule for the poor?”
The Leader of the House Sir George Young replied that a forthcoming debate would explore freedom of speech in the UK adding: "I will raise with the appropriate minister the issue he has just raised."
Injunctions are commonly used by courts to stop the media from publishing certain details. Super-injunctions are a particularly draconian type that forbids the press from even reporting that an injunction exists. Once a rarity they are now becoming an increasingly common method of gagging the press from reporting on people who are often wealthy, public figures.
The terms of the super-injunction covering Mr Goodwin are likely to be so strict that The Independent would be unable to report why a gagging order was taken out by the former RBS chief executive and what information he is trying to protect.