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
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss