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Refusal to release minutes defended

Mervyn King has defended the Bank of England’s decision not to release minutes from past court meetings about its handling of the financial crisis but says he would support a requirement for future minutes to be published.

In March, the TSC called on the bank’s court to publish internal reviews into its handling of the crisis alongside the relevant minutes. The court supplied the reports but refused to publish the minutes. It said doing so would leave no space for private discussion. In October, TSC chair Andrew Tyrie wrote to the court, asking it to reconsider.

Giving evidence to the joint committee on the draft Financial Services Bill last week, BoE governor King said: “It is perfectly reasonable for any body to withhold minutes written and constructed on the basis that they would not be put into the public domain.

If you think that in future the minutes of court should be published, I would be strongly in support of that but you cannot go back and change the rules retrospectively.”

Conservative MP David Ruffley, who sits on both committees, accused King of failing the “first test” of his stated support of increased accoun tability to Parliament. Ruffley asked if the court would release the minutes to the committee on the agreement that they would not be published.

King said: “I am not going to make a comment because I am not the chairman of the court.”

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  1. “you cannot go back and change the rules retrospectively.”

    Try telling that to the FSA.

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