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Euro political row erupts over Equitable

The row between members of the European Parliament’s committee of inquiry into Equitable Life has escalated, with Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins accusing Labour MEPs of trying to wreck the report for political gain.

Money Marketing revealed last month that a row was developing between committee members, with Labour MEP Peter Skinner attacking the draft report and accusing members of politicising its findings and betraying policyholders.

The committee met last week to finalise its conclusions and recommendations, which all members voted for with the exception of the Socialist Group to which Labour MEPs belong. But Atkins says Labour MEPs on the committee are seeking to wreck the report as it criticises UK financial regulators and the Government.

Atkins says: “This would be folly, since those who presented us with evidence of deceit, failure and incompetence – the pensioners – want the finger pointing somewhere. This sensible, constructive report does just that and socialists will be letting down those who suffered financial and personal loss if the report is rejected.”

The draft report states that the Government is “under an obligation to assume responsibility” for victims of the crisis at Equitable Life and calls on the Government to set up a compensation scheme for policyholders. More broadly, the report says EU law and policymaking must be overhauled to prevent a repeat of the debacle and encourage the development of a healthy European pension and insurance market.

The final committee vote will take place in May, before the report goes to the plenary in June where it will be voted for by the full European Parliament.

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