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Former RIBA president joins call to revoke Boris’s fellowship

Shutterstock boris johnson crop

Former RIBA president Angela Brady has joined an army of architects calling for the institute to revoke the honorary fellowship it awarded to Boris Johnson when she was at the helm

Brady – who chaired the RIBA Honours Committee in 2011 when it recognised Johnson’s ‘enormous contribution’ to architecture – signed a letter urging the institute to take the title back.

Johnson was mayor of London when he was made an honorary fellow, and Brady was president of the RIBA. Now prime minister, Johnson is under the spotlight after the Supreme Court ruled his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU was unlawful.

The far-reaching verdict came just days after the Scottish Court of Session also found Johnson’s advice to the queen to prorogue Parliament was unlawful.

Brady and fellow 2011 RIBA Honours Committee panellist Sarah Wigglesworth – as well as scores of leading architects – have demanded the honorary fellowship be revoked in light of the court findings.

Their letter – which will be presented to RIBA Council next week – points to the terms of reference of the honours committee, which outline a ‘fit and proper person’ test. Under this test, the institute says it will consider recommending revocation of an honorary fellowship if its recipient does not ‘act with honesty, integrity and legality at all times’.

Immediate past RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said discussion of Johnson’s fellowship was ‘inevitable’ at next week’s council meeting.

’After [Wednesday] night’s Commons debate, it’s clear his behaviour fails to meet the standards in our new code of conduct for members,’ Derbyshire wrote on Twitter before adding: ‘Sadly this does not apply to honorary posts.’

Walter Menteth, founder of London practice Walter Menteth Architects, organised the campaign to revoke the fellowship.

‘Individual architects, the RIBA as its professional institute and the representatives of our collective professionalism subscribe to behaviour that is lawful, proper and befitting,’ he said.

‘In our long history as a profession, no individual has or can be seen to be above those standards. When the public responsibility of professions and institutions is being tested, no benefit is to be had for democratic civil society by professions and institutions not sustaining the consistent application of those standards.

‘I would hope RIBA Council will reconfirm the institute’s integrity and do what is fit and proper. From the multiple evidence, it seems to me, unequivocally, that it is only right that the institute revoke this honour.’

Other signatories of the letter include Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield, RIBA co-vice president for students and associates Simeon Shtebunaev, long-standing Brexit critic Piers Taylor and celebrated social-housing architect Kate Macintosh.

Readers wanting to add their names can email revokeribahon@gmail.com before midday on Tuesday 1 October, stating clearly any RIBA or other professional suffix.

The RIBA has been contacted for comment.


Readers' comments (24)

  • Tom’s right...the SC have not created a new law, they have just upheld the rule of law. Boris abused the royal prerogative and was slapped down by the judiciary. Power checking power to avoid dictatorship.

    The British constitution is written down, but in myriad different places (eg Magna Carta, 1689 Bill of Rights etc). Ultimately parliament is sovereign and must vote to leave the EU or not. It is unlawful and unconstitutional for such a decision to be made by some daft and half-baked plebiscite, which was meant to be for approval only.

    We can not leave the EU lawfully unless parliament votes to do so in a representative democracy. Any attempt to leave without this will be null and void, and as if it never happened. Remainers will continue to abide by EU law in their daily lives and refuse to recognise an unlawful UK government. They could also eat baguettes and croissants instead of full English breakfasts, and drive on the right to cause civil chaos until their demands are heard, and we rejoin the EU.

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  • The Court of Session is now being asked to consider whether the Prime Minister could be jailed if he takes the UK out of the EU without a deal.
    In the hopefully unlikely event that this comes to pass - and the RIBA didn't consider him to be a political prisoner (forget 'prisoner of conscience') his incarceration might provide a convenient excuse for dumping him without getting bogged down in tortuous debate.

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  • Lying to the queen must rank as treason, so off with his head. Don’t put him in jail, because he will just write his memoirs at our expense, like Jeffrey Archer. He was born in the USA...booorn in the U...S...A! So, can we repatriate him and maybe they can exile him on Ellis Island, so he can’t cause any more damage.

    Reckon the Irish Teashop has it about right though...the three year party is over and the hangover is coming. All the polls indicate that we want to Remain. If a clown like BoJo wants to Leave, it must be one of the worst ideas on the planet. Donald, please give this guy a green card so he can be your running mate in 2020. Rory Stewart for London mayor!

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  • Come in, number five - time you either grow up or stay in the nursery.

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