The potentially explosive report into the near-collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland will be delayed by many months after MPs yesterday appointed independent experts to review the Financial Services Authority's findings.
Bill Knight, the former head of law firm Simmons & Simmons, will join Sir David Walker, the City grandee, in reviewing thousands of pages of evidence to check that the FSA's report presents the full story of RBS's fall – including the regulator's role. They will be paid and will have a small support staff.
Mr Knight and Sir David will report to the Treasury Select Committee in what is effectively the imposition of parliamentary scrutiny over the report. The publication has already slipped from March and is now likely to be early autumn at the earliest.
Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the committee, said: "We need to know the decisive mistakes which destroyed RBS, how they came to be made, whether the FSA was asleep at the wheel, and whether we can have confidence that they are awake now."
The FSA announced in November that it would not take action against Sir Fred Goodwin or other former directors of the bank. There was uproar when the watchdog released only a brief statement after spending months investigating RBS, which was bailed out by taxpayers.
Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA, said the report was delayed because RBS's failure was more complex than many thought.
"It has taken longer than I expected to understand the balance of reasons why RBS failed. I'm reading it and saying: 'What is the real story?' and making sure it turns into a coherent intellectual story that explains the macro and specific factors [that affected] RBS."