George Osborne again ruled out a full public inquiry into the scandal-plagued banking sector - even as disgraced Barclays chief Bob Diamond finally resigned.
George Osborne again ruled out a full public inquiry into the scandal-plagued banking sector – even as disgraced Barclays chief Bob Diamond finally resigned.
On the Today Programme this morning, replying to Nick Robinson’s remarks in response to Diamond’s departure:
“The question is, where that pressure, where that anger now leads, we know that public anger with banking has been brewing for four years, who on Earth would have predicted that a narrow technical issue over the setting of a rate that frankly most of us hadn’t heard of…
“Labour are arguing that that needs now to be eased by having a sort of truth and reconciliation commission, a full public inquiry, no holds barred, in which all these bankers can appear in court questioned by either a judge or by a QC in the way that the press have been questioned, the politicians and the police at the Leveson Inquiry, the chancellor has chosen a much, much narrower inquiry, what the chairman told me, Andrew Tyrie yesterday, that would be ringfenced solely to the lessons to be learnt from this Libor scandal and to be run by politicians, and there will be not one, but possibly three votes in the next few days in which Labour try to defeat the government and get their wider and fuller inquiry.”
The chancellor said:
“I don’t think a long public inquiry that will take months to set up, maybe two years to run, and then lead to legislation in 2016/27 [sic] is frankly what the country wants at the moment.
“We’ve had a detailed investigation into what went wrong, we’ve got all the emails and the texts and all that kind of thing from the FSA report, what we need to do is put this right and we currently have legislation going before parliament, which we can amend, which we can change, so we can change the law, and I think, look, once Labour lose the vote today, as I suspect they probably will, I think they will see sense and join in with an inquiry which I want to command all-party support, a proper parliamentary inquiry with real powers to hold evidence under oath and I think we will get some answers in the next few months instead of waiting till a decade after the scandal itself to come up with any answers, so let’s get on with the job, I’m sure Labour will not want to stand in the way of that inquiry, and I’m sure they will see sense, because after all, they have questions to answer as well.”
• RBS dragged into Libor scandal 1 Jul 2012
There you have it then – Osborne ploughing on regardless, sticking by the narrowest of inquiries, putting barriers in the way of a full inquiry – and all this despite the fact Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee, and the man likely to head up any parliamentary inquiry, has said he doesn’t believe it could take place without cross-party support.