George Osborne defends Government's role in Co-op Bank's Lloyds takeover plans
Monday 25 November 2013
George Osborne has defended the Government's involvement in plans for the Co-operative Bank to take over branches of Lloyds, insisting the collapse of the deal showed the "system worked".
The Chancellor attempted to distance the Treasury from criticism about the way checks were made on the bank as the fallout continues from allegations about former chairman Paul Flowers' alleged drug-taking.
Alarm bells rang and were heard when the Co-op was bidding to take over 632 Lloyds branches, he said.
Mr Osborne also denied claims that Treasury minister Mark Hoban held 30 meetings with Mr Flowers.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't think it is correct that he met Paul Flowers 30 times.
"But, look, we are having an independent inquiry into what went on in the Co-op and I would just make this point, which is the first priority is to save this incredibly important bank.
"It has 600,000 customers, many thousands of people work for the Co-op and will be anxious about their jobs, and a huge amount of my time and the time of the Treasury is spent on making sure this bank survives and survives in a way that does not depend on a taxpayer bailout, which we want to move away from in this country."
Mr Osborne said of the failed attempt for a deal between Lloyds and the Co-op: "The key point is this - it didn't happen. In other words, the system worked.
"Here the system worked because actually when we saw the Coop was in no fit state to take over the Lloyds branches, the alarm bell rang, the alarm bell was heard and that is why our system is working."
Mr Osborne added: "We didn't know the circumstances around the fact that he had resigned as a councillor for the Labour Party in Bradford and we are also not in the same position as the Labour Party, who is currently taking money and soft loans from the Co-op at the very moment that this institution is in trouble, where bond holders are having to make sacrifices, pensioners who rely on the income from those bonds are having to make sacrifices, where people working for the Co-op face losing their job and at the same time the Labour and Co-operative movement is taking cash and soft loans."
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...