Will there be a Leveson inquiry for the banks?

Calls for a public inquiry grow as e-petition is launched.

As outrage grows over Barclays' manipulation of interest rates, economist Ann Pettifor (a contributor to The Staggers) has submitted an e-petition calling for an independent judicial inquiry into British banks. Here's the full text:

We the undersigned call for an independent, judicial public enquiry into fraud, wrongdoing and ethics of British banks, their management and their staff, and the role of the British Bankers Association. The terms of reference of this inquiry should also include the manipulation of interest rates on about £225 trillion of assets. The inquiry must have full powers to compel witnesses to appear on oath, and to obtain all forms of evidence.

So far, Downing Street has responded by stating only that David Cameron welcomes the Treasury select committee inquiry. Labour, too, might be wary of supporting a judicial inquiry. While it would dovetail neatly with Ed Miliband's support for "responsible capitalism", an inquiry would shed further light on the regulatory failures of the last Labour government (although, as they now like to forget, the Tories favoured even greater deregulation). Ed Balls, who was City minister during the period of market abuse, and Gordon Brown, who was Chancellor, would be called as witnesses. Though both Balls and Miliband have rightly apologised for Labour's regime of "light-touch regulation" they may feel that backing an inquiry would be an act of political masochism.

The UK headquarters of Barclays Bank stands in Canary Wharf. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.