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Former RIBA president joins call to revoke Boris’s fellowship

Shutterstock boris johnson crop
  • 24 Comments

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.

  • 24 Comments

Readers' comments (24)

  • Gosh he will be quaking in his boots if it gets revoked

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  • It will be the death knell of his premiership...

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  • test

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  • It won't be too healthy for the RIBA if they fudge this one - I hadn't been aware of the man's 'enormous contribution' to architecture (I wonder if this would stand close examination?) or of the bestowal of the honorary fellowship, and it's surely rather surprising that his garden bridge antics haven't already caused disquiet - or maybe they have?
    Or could it be that someone perceived to have very considerable powers of patronage in London has been schmoozed by the RIBA?

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  • Industry Professional

    Originally when I raised the question at Council in 2018, the issue of Honorary Fellows was connected with the improper actions around the Garden Bridge scandal, and even then in my view could've been enough of a reason to rescind the Hon Fellowship of the ones involved in the process.

    The amount of other action which this particular member has engaged since, do violate the RIBA fit and proper test, therefore the Hon Fellowship should be revoked, such as acting unlawfully and being found to act without integrity.

    Simeon Shtebunaev

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  • As the full text of this call to the RIBA doesn’t yet appear to have been uploaded, you can find it here:
    On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/walter-menteth_riba-rias-arb-activity-6583340146027036672-RjGP
    On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalterMenteth/status/1177565882781970432?s=20

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  • To "Anon" and "Number 5", I am not sure the point of this is to be the *thing* which stops Johnson for good.

    It's just a matter of ethics and responsibility. Having considered the points made by the petition, should it be that Johnson has the ethics which suit the honorary position? It will probably not be reported outside of architectural press, and have not a jot of difference to the bigger scheme of things, and that's fine and irrelevant. But what are the ethics of RIBA, that's still quite important if the institution is to have any value to its members.

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  • "Former RIBA president Angela Brady has joined an army of architects"
    Ah !
    I hadn't realised this was the collective noun for architects.

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  • ’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.’

    New code of conduct not ‘fit for purpose’.? Time to ‘revoke ‘ that too?

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  • So, the Supreme Court invented a new law, which Boris was found to have retrospectively contravened. And the new law goes against the precedent set over hundreds of years.

    Brady and her Remainiac chums throw a tizzy fit, spit their dummies out and demand Boris be stripped of his honorary fellowship. Obviously, his dire professional standards in having the temerity to follow through on a democratic vote and be painfully frank in addressing MP's who's behaviour borders upon treason and treachery, goes strictly against their blinkered values and morals.

    Can I please call "Humbug" on Brady's statement ;-)

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