Bowles: Tyrie's inquiry might not get the job done
As MPs get set to vote on proposals for Andrew Tyrie’s inquiry into banking standards, senior MEP Sharon Bowles is warning it may not get to the bottom of things and make a wider investigation necessary.
According to the motion setting out the terms of inquiry, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards will look at professional standards and culture in the UK’s banking industry and suggest ways to improve corporate governance and transparency as well as mitigating conflicts of interest. Tyrie has said it will be “ringfenced” around the issue of Libor.
Labour MPs Andy Love and Pat McFadden, Conservative MP Mark Garnier and Lib Dem MP John Thurso, all members of the Treasury select committee will also sit on the commission. A number of peers will also be involved but a motion on the House of Lords’ contribution to the inquiry has yet to be tabled. This will happen before peers rise for the summer on July 25. MPs will vote on the Commons motion tonight.
Last week, TSC member and Labour MP John Mann branded the inquiry a ”whitewash” before it had even got underway, claiming he and Conservative TSC member Andrea Leadsom were left off of the panel of MPs because they were “too outspoken”. Labour wanted a full, public, judge-led inquiry along the lines of the Leveson inquiry into media standards.
Speaking to Money Marketing, European parliament’s Economic and monetary affairs committee chair and Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles says: “The risk is that like the original Parliamentary inquiry into the Murdoch empire, this inquiry might not lay this to rest. If you have an inquiry that is too weak you just end up having another one. You start with gentle inquiries and then they get stiffer and you find people have been let off or did not entirely tell the truth earlier. That just makes things worse.
“There will be an inquiry into Euribor that will go on in Europe and the Commissioner for Competition has been looking into this for over a year. If they find there has been a cartel the fines that have been made and the market abuse will pale into insignificance. Given this is an international issue, I might ask why the UK’s inquiry does not have someone from Europe on it?”
The commission will report by December 18 and its recommendations will be considered for inclusion in the Bank Reform Bill, now expected to be published in January.
After initially refusing to say whether they would back the inquiry, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls have backed the motion. Tyrie said he would not have been involved if the commission did not have cross-party support.
Labour wanted an independent, judge-led inquiry. The motion says Tyrie’s commission will be able to appoint legal advisers and invite them to question those giving evidence.