My Column in the Ilford Recorder 12 July 2012
The City of London is vital to our economy. Hundreds of thousands including many of my constituents work in our global financial services industry. Revelations of lying and manipulation of interest rates exposed at Barclays have shocked and angered families and businesses and ordinary bank employees . They also pose a threat to the long term credibility and health of the City. This scandal comes on top of banks being found guilty of miss-selling to small firms, and the gross irresponsibility that caused the global financial crisis for which we are still paying a heavy price. I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to estimate “ how much per head ordinary people in this country have suffered from the activities of a group of corrupt banksters? “ George Osborne replied “There is no estimate of the cost to individuals or consumers, ..but it is clear that, as the FSA says, the manipulation contributed to the risk to the entire financial system, which then, in effect, collapsed, not because of that, but as part of the culture we have been talking about, and the country has paid many billions for that.” Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are right to demand an open, independent, judge-led inquiry to investigate both the Libor market scandal and the whole culture and practice of banking in our country. Deplorably the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats rejected this and forced through a narrow MP and Lords inquiry with an inbuilt partisan government majority. Only a judge-led inquiry would have had the necessary power to ensure the production of documents , provide forensic examination and cross-examination of witnesses, and persuade the public that it is properly independent and non-partisan. This is especially true after the rows of the past few days.