Simon English: Was Hester leaned on in furore over his bonus?
Thursday 02 February 2012
Outlook: Did ministers meet with Stephen Hester before he so decently agreed to give up a £1m bonus from Royal Bank of Scotland? Which ones? What was said?
Officially, government ministers are not supposed to get involved in RBS directly, due to "shadow director" rules that make it illegal for the strings of a company to be pulled by folk who aren't on the board.
The government stake in RBS is managed by UKFI; ministers are hands off.
Anyway, the line from the Treasury in response to my question is: "You'd expect the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary to speak to Stephen Hester regularly."
Would we? And at what point are lines crossed? If they can boss him around, that's fine, but it rather makes a mockery of the official position. Can we see Hester's list of appointments and phone calls for the past two weeks? I'm told it might make interesting reading...
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