Monday July 16, 2012
UK parties agree on parliamentary investigators into banks
LONDON: Britain’s government and main opposition have agreed on who will participate in a parliamentary inquiry into the professional and ethical standards of bankers, documents from parliament showed, although one lawmaker described the process as a “whitewash”.
The government has come under pressure to scrutinise the bank sector, particularly since last month when Barclays was fined for trying to manipulate the London interbank offered rate (Libor), used worldwide as a benchmark for prices on about US$350 trillion of derivatives and other financial products.
The parliamentarians from the British assembly’s lower house, the House of Commons, put forward for the inquiry are Andrew Tyrie, who chairs parliament’s influential cross-party Treasury Select Committee, and fellow committee members Mark Garnier, Andy Love, John Thurso and Pat McFadden.
“The recent scandals demonstrate the need for higher standards in banking,” said Tyrie, who was proposed as the chairman of the banking commission. “It is the fact that so many appear to have got off scot-free that really sticks in the gullet of the electorate.”
The House of Commons had yet to approve the membership list, said a spokesman. It is likely to do so as the nominations have been agreed between all three major parties.
The commission would also have members from the House of Lords, the upper house, the spokesman added, and its proposed powers included the ability to summon people and call for records, examine witnesses on oath and appoint specialist advisers.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It will have powers and resources to do a thorough job.”
But Treasury Select Committee member John Mann, who was not nominated for the banking commission, called the inquiry “a total whitewash”. “We need to get to the bottom of this scandal, and I’m therefore setting up my own inquiry into this dreadful mess,” he said in a statement, without elaborating. — Reuters