Banking inquiry a whitewash, says MP

 

Two of the Commons' toughest financial inquisitors were excluded from the parliamentary inquiry into the Libor rate-fixing scandal yesterday, prompting claims of a "whitewash".

Neither the Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, who worked for Barclays for more than a decade and was widely praised for her questioning of Bob Diamond, nor the Labour MP John Mann have been selected to sit on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

Their absence from the panel, which will begin its sessions this summer, was met with surprise and anger at Westminster.

Instead the positions went Tory MP Mark Garnier, Labour MPs Andy Love and Pat McFadden and the Liberal Democrat John Thurso. The Commission will be chaired by the Tory MP and Treasury Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie.

Of those on the committee only Mr Garnier has long-term and personal experience of the banking industry.

Some speculated that Ms Leadsom may have been excluded for her forthright comments last week suggesting that George Osborne should apologise for suggesting that his opposite number Ed Balls had been aware of Libor fixing.

Unlike select committees – whose members are chosen by fellow MPs – the commission was chosen by party whips. The commission, which will study professional standards and the culture of the banking sector, and recommend new legislation, will also feature members of the House of Lords. MPs on the commission will be offered the services of a professional QC to cross-examine bankers as part of their inquiry.

A motion to set up the committee has been signed by David Cameron and Mr Osborne, as well as Mr Balls and the Labour leader, Ed Miliband. The terms of reference set out in the motion require the commission to consider and report on the "professional standards and culture of the UK banking sector, taking account of regulatory and competition investigations into the Libor rate-setting process".

It will have the power to appoint a barrister to question witnesses, in an attempt to raise the standards of examination displayed by MP-led select committee inquiries and witnesses will be required to give evidence under oath. This could set a precedent for future Commons inquiries. The commission is required to report on its recommendations for legislation by 18 December and "on other matters as soon as possible thereafter".

Ms Leadsom won widespread praise for her forensic questioning of Mr Diamond earlier this month. Mr Mann also gave the banker a tough time, telling him: "Either you were complicit in what was going on, or you were grossly negligent, or you were grossly incompetent".

The banking review was announced by the Government shortly after it emerged that Barclays and other banks had been involved in manipulating the inter-bank lending rate, Libor.

"The membership of the committee is something for the political parties and they have agreed between themselves who can serve," the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

Mr Mann said the inquiry would be a "whitewash" and that he was going to set up his own. "Both Andrea and I were available for the inquiry and because we are too outspoken we have been blocked," he said. "This exposes the inquiry as a total whitewash with Andrew Tyrie reaching his conclusions in advance of the meetings."

Mr Tyrie said he was pleased that the Commission had the support of all three major parties. "The perpetrators of wrongdoing should be held fully accountable for their actions," he said. "The actions of a few have impugned the reputations of many. Hundreds of thousands of people in financial services work hard, honestly and for the benefit of their customers. They deserve better too."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy