Barnier backtracks on UK appearance

Michel Barnier, the European Union's Financial Services Commissioner, has bowed to pressure to appear before MPs to discuss Brussels' plans for financial regulation.

Mr Barnier initally turned down an invitation to appear before the influencial Treasury Select Committee, drawing the ire of the committee's chairman, Andrew Tyrie, who wrote an open letter to the European Commission's President asking him to ask Mr Barnier to reconsider his decision.

A spokeswoman for Mr Barnier yesterday said that he was now considering appearing before the MPs on 20 December.

"The commissioner is well aware of the importance of European finance regulation on the UK in particular," she added. "We are now looking into new options and trying to schedule a visit to London," she said.