Osborne 'need not apologise' over Balls Libor-fixing accusation, says Cameron - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Osborne 'need not apologise' over Balls Libor-fixing accusation, says Cameron

 

David Cameron does not believe that Chancellor George Osborne needs to apologise for suggesting that former Labour ministers including Ed Balls were involved in the Barclays rate-fixing scandal, the Prime Minister's spokesman said today.

Labour is demanding an apology after Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker denied yesterday that any minister or Whitehall official encouraged him to "lean on" Barclays to lower its submissions to the crucial Libor index.

Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, a member of the Commons Treasury Committee which heard Mr Tucker's denial, said Mr Osborne had clearly made a mistake and should now apologise.

And Tory former chancellor Lord Lamont said Mr Osborne had "overplayed his hand". Lord Lamont told BBC2's Daily Politics: "If there is an allegation Ed Balls was involved, it doesn't stand up. That is clear."

Mr Cameron's official spokesman was asked at a regular media briefing this morning whether the Prime Minister agreed it was time for the Chancellor to say sorry.

The spokesman said: "The Treasury has been making the position clear that he won't. He (Mr Cameron) agrees with the Treasury."

Speaking to The Spectator magazine last week, Mr Osborne said that figures around Labour's former PM Gordon Brown were "clearly involved" in efforts to persuade Barclays to understate the interest rates it was being charged in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. The claim sparked a furious clash in the House of Commons, where Mr Balls said he had been falsely accused of such behaviour "not on the basis of evidence but purely in the hope of political advantage".

The Chancellor told the Spectator that members of Mr Brown's inner circle had "questions to answer", adding: "My opposite number was City minister for part of this period and Gordon Brown's right-hand man for all of it. So he has questions to answer as well. That's Ed Balls, by the way."

Mr Osborne did not mention any other individuals by name, but it was widely assumed that he was referring to former Treasury minister Baroness Vadera, a close ally of the ex-prime minister.

But in his evidence to the Treasury Committee yesterday, Mr Tucker said he "absolutely" rejected claims that Mr Balls, Lady Vadera or the then Downing Street chief of staff Sir Jeremy Heywood had asked him to pressure Barclays to lower its Libor submissions.

Ms Leadsom later said that the deputy governor's evidence had "completely squashed" Mr Osborne's allegations.

"Obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise," she told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight.

"I think it was a very valid discussion at the time about who knew what and it has now been completely squashed by Paul Tucker."

Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie described Mr Tucker's evidence as "the final nail in the coffin of the Tory smear campaign the Chancellor led last week" and called on Mr Osborne to apologise.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed the demand, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Parliament is a lively place and it should be, it's a free Parliament.

"The Chancellor said there are questions to answer, there remain questions to answer and I see no reason why he should apologise for that."

PA

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
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

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week