John Mann: Andrew Tyrie must leave his committee to do its job


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Chaos reigns. There is real anger in all three parties at the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, who in effect has added himself to the government payroll and has attempted to mothball the Treasury Committee.

As ever politicians remain susceptible to flattery and pretensions of power. Andrew Tyrie has half his conclusions already written as he usurps the powers of his committee. But has he got the bottle to ask the big questions? Are RBS and HSBC even more culpable in fixing Libor than Barclays? What other market manipulations are going on? What offshore companies are being used by banks to hide their assets and liabilities? From chocolate companies to football clubs, market manipulation has never been investigated properly. Unusual sources of offshore funding have never been established to have existed as stated – or even to have existed at all.

These are the big issues for investment banking, with Libor rigging being just one consideration in the scandal. Mr Tyrie has already put off the EU Commissioner, Michel Barnier, from attending the Treasury Committee next week. When will he be called? Will the EU proposals on restricting market manipulation be properly considered by his committee? How will Mr Tyrie compensate for an absence of women on his inquiry board? Tackling corporate culture starts with examining the role of the testosterone-fuelled boys on the trading floors, and I would happily have stood aside for Andrea Leadsom and Teresa Pearce. The old ways of doing things are not good enough, and they underpin the problem at the heart of British banking. The very least Mr Tyrie can do now is not hamper his own committee from doing the job it needs to do.

John Mann is a member of the Treasury Select Committee but will not sit on the new inquiry