Hain hissed by Tory MPs over Lloyd's claims

Click to follow
A LABOUR MP was hissed and branded a 'liar' in the Commons yesterday after suggesting that senior Conservatives might have benefited from insider information on the Lloyd's insurance market.

To Labour taunts of 'grovel', Rod Richards, Tory MP for Clwyd North West, was forced by Betty Boothroyd to withdraw the remark and make a personal apology to her. Mr Richards's outburst came as Peter Hain, Labour MP for Neath, rose to ask a question at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Hain, almost drowned out by hissing from Tory MPs and Labour cheers, called on John Major to 'establish an inquiry into the way that a member of your cabinet, Lord Wakeham (Leader of the House of Lords), and other leading Conservatives in 1988 were taken off selected Lloyd's syndicates which later suffered three years of catastrophic losses'.

Mr Hain asked: 'Were they the beneficiaries of insider information while millions of pounds of losses were dumped on ordinary Lloyd's investors?' Mr Major retorted: 'Inferences that are clearly underlying your question today under the privilege of Parliament is not a way that most people would regard as the right way to raise these matters.'

The row came in the wake of claims by Mr Hain in the early hours of the morning that senior MPs including former ministers had been given preferential treatment to avoid heavy losses in their capacities as Lloyd's names.

In a fresh attack over their financial interests, Mr Hain had said in a debate on members' interests that 51 Tory MPs had total losses of pounds 22m. But none had suffered destitution, bankruptcy or the tremendous losses suffered by other names who were on the same syndicates.

There were furious Tory protests when Mr Hain named a group of senior Tory MPs who, he claimed, had benefited by being removed from syndicates before they incurred heavy losses.

He was admonished by the Speaker during that debate for failing to give adequate notice of the MPs he intended to name in his speech.

Mr Hain's allegations, under parliamentary privilege, were made as MPs moved to abandon a rule by which MPs who are names at Lloyds were required, in addition to declaring their interest in Lloyd's, to identify by numbers the Lloyd's syndicates to which they belonged.