MPs' call for a say in Bank appointments is rejected

A cross-party move to give a committee of MPs a say on senior appointments to the Bank of England and the Monetary Policy Committee was rejected last night after a heated Commons debate on the Bank of England Bill. Lea Paterson reports.

Key figures from both Tory and Labour benches last night called on the Government to amend the Bill, which deals with the key issues of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and banking supervision.

In the end, the move was rejected by 252 votes to 143, a Government majority of 109.

Giles Radice, the Labour chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said MPs on the committee should be allowed to assess the credentials of MPC candidates. "I think it is essential that the Monetary Policy Committee be seen to be competent, effective and independent," he said.

But the MP stressed he was not seeking the power to veto MPC appointments. Rather, Mr Radice wanted to be able to endorse suitable candidates and to ask the Chancellor to reconsider the appointment of candidates deemed unsuitable.

Quentin Davies, a Conservative MP and Select Committee member, argued for a stronger amendment which would give MPs a say in the appointment of the Governor and Deputy Governors of the Bank.

Mr Davies said the amendment would provide a vital check and balance and would help reassure those worried that the Chancellor would merely give jobs to his "cronies".

These worries were echoed by David Heathcoat-Amory, shadow Treasury Chief Secretary, who said Select Committee confirmation of appointments would ensure candidates "measure up to the full standards of expertise and impartiality which the House expects". Michael Fallon, shadow trade and industry spokesman, also argued that "this Quango Bank" should be more accountable.

But Alistair Darling, Treasury Chief Secretary, argued there were serious practical problems in allowing MPs a say.

Although Mr Darling conceded that the "calibre and quality of its members clearly matters" he said the Chancellor was "bound to appoint only those people who have sufficient expertise and knowledge".

Mr Darling added: "If Select Committees are to be given the power of confirmatory hearings and - almost by definition - the power to choose who might or might not be on the MPC, then one could imagine a situation where the people the MPC appointed might not be the appointees of the Chancellor but in fact the appointees of the Select Committee or perhaps the House itself."

The debate also exposed the divide within the Labour party on the way the economy should be run. Labour's Austin Mitchell said it was essential that the Bank of England considered the level of employment as well as inflation.

The Bill, which followed Labour's surprise announcement in May, hands operational policy for the setting of interest rates to the MPC, which lies within the Bank of England.

According to the Bill, the MPC should consist of nine members - the Governor of the Bank of England, the two Deputy Governors and six others. Four of these other members are appointed by the Governor, after consultation with the Chancellor. The other two are appointed directly by the Chancellor, as are the Governor and the Deputy Governors.

The MPC has been responsible for setting interest rates since June, and since it was handed the reins has increased rates four times.

The Bill also transfers the Bank's banking supervisory role to the Financial Services Authority.

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape