MPs to vote of judicial banking scandal inquiry

 

MPs are to be given a vote on whether to stage a full judicial inquiry into the banking scandal, the Government announced tonight.

The Leader of the Commons Sir George Young said there would be a debate on Thursday on whether a judge should investigate, or whether it should be dealt with by a committee of MPs and peers.

David Cameron announced on Monday that the Government intended to set up a joint, cross-party committee of the Commons and Lords to carry out an inquiry into rate-rigging by the banks.

However the plan immediately ran into trouble after Labour insisted only a judicial inquiry - along the lines of the Leveson Inquiry into the media - could get to the bottom of the problem.

The man chosen by the Government to chair the joint committee - the chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, Tory MP Andrew Tyrie - then said he was not prepared to go ahead unless there was a cross-party consensus.

Other MPs on the Treasury Committee were said to be unhappy that a joint committee inquiry would cut across its inquiry into bank governance which was already under way.

Downing Street insisted ministers wanted to work with the opposition, but Labour reacted with fury after Government sources were quoted, accusing the party of trying to avoid a rapid parliamentary inquiry in order to "save Ed Balls' skin".

Chancellor George Osborne had earlier stoked tensions, saying he would like to see the shadow chancellor - who was City minister in the Labour government during part of the time of the Libor scandal - "in the dock".

In the Commons on Monday, Mr Osborne had taunted Mr Balls, saying: "Put your hand up if you were the City minister when the Libor scandal happened."

No 10 insisted it should still be possible for a joint committee to proceed on a non-partisan basis, disclosing that Mr Cameron had spoken to Labour leader Ed Miliband before announcing the Government's proposals.

"I am sure there will be political points made about some of these issues. Some of these issues have been debated in the past between political parties," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

"We certainly want to see this inquiry address them in a way that has cross-party support."

However Mr Balls said the Government had destroyed trust in its ability to approach the issue in a non-party political manner.

"The way the Government has handled this since yesterday in a totally partisan way is, to be honest, undermining trust," he told Sky News's Boulton & Co.

"My fear is us co-operating in a parliamentary inquiry would be third best, it wouldn't satisfy the public. So I would much prefer that we don't go down that road."

Sir George acknowledged that - with the main parties divided - the only way to resolve the issue was to put the two alternative proposals to a Commons vote.

"There is a disagreement between the two sides as to the best way forward," he told MPs in an emergency business statement.

"I think the right way to resolve that disagreement is to have a debate and then have a vote on the two alternative propositions. That is how this House makes a decision."

Nevertheless it was unclear whether, even if the Government won the vote, Mr Tyrie would consider there was sufficient cross-party consensus for him to proceed.

Sir George said: "I very much hope that in the debate that we have on Thursday, members of the Treasury Select Committee, including possibly the chair of that committee, may put forward their views on the proposition we have put forward before the House."

Ministers argue that a rapid, tightly-focused parliamentary inquiry is the best way to bring forward recommendations in time for inclusion in the Government's planned banking reform bill to be published next year.

"What I want to see is recommendations made quickly so that we can get on and implement them, which is, I think, what the people of this country want to see," said Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.

"I hope that Labour aren't arguing for an alternative, longer timescale inquiry on the basis that they want a smokescreen to protect their own position."

However Mr Miliband warned that an inquiry by parliamentarians would lack credibility with the public.

"I have to say to David Cameron that if he doesn't order a judge-led inquiry, I think he will be failing to understand the gravity and scale of this crisis," Mr Miliband said.

"The last thing the public want is a sense that the establishment is trying to cover this up and sweep it under the carpet."

PA

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam