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Chances of plum job may have been lost

NORMAN LAMONT, the former Chancellor, may have undermined his chances of a plum City job with his bitter outburst in the Commons.

City headhunters said that Mr Lamont's sharp criticism of his old boss, John Major, and party policy could damage his job prospects in the essentially conservative financial community, where contacts and reputation are paramount.

A financial recruitment expert at a leading City executive search firm said that Mr Lamont's reputation among City firms - already tarnished by his record on the economy and humiliating resignation - will be hurt further by his bitter remarks.

'It was ill-advised of him to lash out - the City is very wary of the unpredictable,' the consultant said. 'We are dealing with a man who is already pretty unpopular in the public eye. To aggravate that by being rude will not help his chances.'

Recruitment consultants compared him to Lord Lawson, who also 'got stroppy' after his resignation over a dispute with Baroness Thatcher about Britain's membership of the exchange rate mechanism. As a result of his public comments, some plum directorships and job offers were never extended to him, one said. Lord Lawson wrote his memoirs and took up directorships at GPA and the investment bank Barclays de Zoete Wedd after he stepped down from the Chancellor's hot seat.

Some doors in the City may be closed to Mr Lamont including, it is understood, those of the merchant banks Schroder and S G Warburg.

But his pulling power will be his experience in the European financial world and invaluable Treasury and City connections. A European bank in London might consider him a prime target for recruitment.

Stephen Bowie, financial services manager with Alderwick Consulting in London, said: 'His knowledge of the economy and financial markets are second to none, and he knows his way around City institutions, Government and policy.' His experience and contacts in European Community financial and economic circles would also be an attractive asset.

Mr Lamont was a director of the merchant bank N M Rothschild until 1979.