Angela Brady, the co-chair of Croydon Council’s Place Review Panel, has added her influential voice to calls for the Royal Institute of British Architects to strip Boris Johnson of his honorary fellowship.
Dublin-born Brady is widely respected in architecture circles. She is the founder of the firm Brady Mallalieu, and she is a former president of RIBA. Brady chaired the RIBA honours committee in 2011 when in a piece of grand-standing they decided to hand Johnson the fellowship for his “enormous contribution” to architecture.
More likely, RIBA was doing a bit of arslikhan to the then London Mayor for his services to architects’ bank balances, after Johnson allowed the city centre’s skyline to be scarred with a succession of ugly towers, while squandering more than £50million of public money on the Hetherwick-designed Garden Bridge – which was neither much of a garden, nor much of a bridge, and which finally got binned in 2016.
Brady has now signed a letter urging RIBA to take the title back from the Tory Prime Minister.
Brady and scores of leading architects have written to RIBA and demanded the honorary fellowship be revoked in light of the findings of the Supreme Court last week over Johnson’s illegal attempt to prorogue parliament.
Their letter claims that Johnson fails RIBA’s “fit and proper person” test to hold such an honour.
In a report in the Architects Journal this week, they say, “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’.”
“Individual architects, the RIBA as its professional institute and the representatives of our collective professionalism subscribe to behaviour that is lawful, proper and befitting,” said Walter Menteth, who organised the campaign to revoke the fellowship.
“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.”
Menteth and Brady even organised an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – for people to write to in support of their campaign to strip Johnson of the honour.
Brady may need to exercise a little discretion, though, when she’s next visiting Fisher’s Folly for one of her £500-a-day sessions with Croydon Council as chair of the borough’s Place Review Panel.
Because if she and RIBA really do want to apply high standards to the institute’s honorary fellows, to ensure that they “act with honesty, integrity and legality at all times”, then they might be forced to consider other dubious honorary fellowships, such as that which was awarded in 2016 to Jo Negrini, Croydon’s £220,000 per year council chief exec, and the person who just happened to set up the borough’s Place Review Panel…
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