Anthony Hilton: Why banking has to play second fiddle to politics

Lloyds' figures on Thursday showed the bank is fast returning to health and triggered a wave of speculation about when the Government might begin to sell its 39 per cent stake.

Personally I have no doubt about the date. George Osborne makes his speech to the Tory Party conference in Manchester on Monday 30 September. Therefore the sale will be in the two weeks before, so that he can milk its success for all its worth. For the same reason I expect at least half will be sold so that the holding is reduced below the psychologically important 20 per cent level.