Forfeiture committee to consider whether to revoke Sir Gary Verity’s knight

In a letter about Sir Gary seen by this newspaper, a Cabinet Office official said: “We can confirm that the Confiscations Commission will look into this matter”.

The letter was sent to Skipton resident Josh Horne, who contacted the Cabinet Office in September to request that the case be reviewed as he does not believe Sir Gary is a ‘fit and suitable person to retain a knight’s title “.

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Sir Gary Verity pictured in 2016

Grounds for revocation include being convicted of a criminal offense; be censored by a regulatory or professional body “or any other behavior which is deemed to bring the honors system into disrepute”.

Sir Gary has not been convicted of any criminal offense or censored by any regulatory or professional body.

The committee does not conduct inquiries itself but reflects the findings of official inquiries and makes a recommendation as to whether or not the honors system has been discredited.

Sir Gary was made a knight in 2015 for services rendered to tourism after bringing the opening stage of the Tour de France to Yorkshire the year before.

Sir Gary Verity was knighted for successfully bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014.

But he left Welcome to Yorkshire for health reasons in March 2019 amid allegations about spending and behavior towards staff.

An independent investigation ordered by Welcome to Yorkshire and conducted by BDO forensic accountants examined £ 900,000 of claims for reimbursement by senior executives and members of the board of directors of WtY over a period of six years.

BDO has identified £ 26,000 of claims considered to be ‘personal’ expenses which ‘have not been fully incurred for the benefit of WtY’. In July 2019 Keith Stewart, then acting chairman of WtY, said other than a claim for another person for less than £ 200 all personal expenses were tied to Sir Gary and he had reimbursed the full amount.

A parallel investigation into WtY’s management culture – amid allegations of bullying – found it had “failed” to meet the highest standards of performance and leadership reasonably expected of a CEO.

Sir Gary’s lawyers said at the time that while he accepted “his passion for success may at times not be up to today’s cultural norms”, many complaints against him “were far removed from reality. “.

The Cabinet Office letter to Mr Horne, sent on December 16, says he is unable to give a timeline on his thoughts, but will keep him informed of the progress of the work.

Mr Horne, a retired journalist, had previously written to Mark Burns-Williamson, then West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, asking him why the police investigation had not led to any further action.

Mr Horne said he decided to raise the matter with the forfeiture committee because of his deep feelings about what had happened involving the use of taxpayer money.

In his letter to the Forfeiture Committee, he said: “As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Verity is not a fit or suitable person to hold a knight’s title and for him to keep his makes fun of the honors system. . “

Sir Gary’s lawyers said their client was unwilling to comment on the case when contacted.

The Cabinet Office said it was unable to confirm the official findings the forfeiture committee will assess because its process is confidential.

What the Cabinet Office Letter to Mr. Horne Says

The Cabinet Office letter to Mr. Horne, sent on December 16, states: “Thank you for your November 19 letter to the Cabinet Office regarding Gary Verity.

“We have received the advice of the Secretariat to the Independent Committee as follows.

“An honor can be revoked with the approval of the sovereign after the opinion of the confiscation committee.

“The Committee is in a position to examine cases where individuals are deemed to have discredited the honors system.

“For example, a person has been sentenced to imprisonment for more than three months or has been censored / expunged etc. the granting of honor.

“However, it is important to note that the committee is not an investigative body and can only reflect the official findings of these bodies.

“Given the circumstances, we can confirm that the Forfeiture Committee will review this case.

“We’re afraid we can’t give you a timeline, but we’ll keep you posted on progress.”

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