Banks inquiry branded 'total joke'

Ealing Times: Labour MP John Mann pledged to establish his own inquiry into Britain's banks Labour MP John Mann pledged to establish his own inquiry into Britain's banks

The parliamentary inquiry into the banking industry and Libor scandal has been branded a "total joke" after two of the Commons' toughest inquisitors on financial issues were excluded from it.

Neither Labour MP John Mann nor Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom have been selected to sit on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, despite their forthright questioning of bankers as members of the Treasury Select Committee.

The commission will be chaired by Tory MP and Treasury Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie. Its other MP members will be Tory Mark Garnier, Labour MPs Andy Love and Pat McFadden and Liberal Democrat John Thurso - all of whom also sit on the Treasury Committee.

Mr Mann took to Twitter to describe the new committee as "a total joke". He said the inquiry would be a "whitewash" and that he was going to set up his own.

"Both Andrea and I were available for the inquiry and because we are too outspoken we have been blocked," he said. "This exposes the inquiry as a total whitewash with Andrew Tyrie reaching his conclusions in advance of the meetings. We need to get to the bottom of this scandal and I'm therefore setting up my own inquiry into this dreadful mess."

The commission, which will study professional standards and the culture of the banking sector and recommend new legislation in the wake of the Libor rate-fixing scandal, will also feature members of the House of Lords.

A motion to set up the committee has been signed by Prime Minster David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne as well as Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

The terms of reference set out in the motion require the commission to consider and report on "professional standards and culture of the UK banking sector, taking account of regulatory and competition investigations into the Libor rate-setting process" and "lessons to be learned about corporate governance, transparency and conflicts of interest, and their implications for regulation and for Government policy".

It will have the power to appoint a barrister to question witnesses, in an attempt to raise the usual standards of examination displayed by MP-led select committee inquiries.

The commission is required to report on its recommendations for legislation by December 18 and "on other matters as soon as possible thereafter".

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