David Prosser: Tyrie and colleagues take on all-comers

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The Independent Online

Outlook Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, is fast gaining a reputation for being even more combative than his predecessor, John McFall, under whose leadership appearing in front of MPs was such an ordeal. This week alone, Mr Tyrie has published a well-argued report dismantling many of the preliminary conclusions of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) and flayed the Financial Services Authority for not taking proper notice of MPs' criticisms of its reforms of financial advice.

Indeed, for some of the targets of Mr Tyrie's ire, the Parliamentary recess cannot have come soon enough.

To which one can only say, thank goodness. The announcements dragged out of the Financial Services Authority yesterday, for example, are the result of a dogged campaign by the TSC to force the regulator to publish the findings of its investigations into Royal Bank of Scotland (and thus HBOS). In fact, the only real success we have had in holding the main players – or at least a handful of them – to public account came at the credit crisis hearings held by the committee two years ago.

This sort of scrutiny is crucial. The TSC's focus, for example, is to publicise the debate between the banks and the ICB – without it, those negotiations would almost certainly be taking place behind closed doors.

It has not been the best of weeks for Parliament's select committees: MPs' interrogation of the Murdochs on Tuesday, with the exception of Tom Watson, was hardly incisive, even before that embarrassing security breach. Mr Tyrie's committee, on the other hand, is performing admirably.

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