Five questions answered on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standard’s report

What does it say about banking culture?

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, set up by Chancellor George Osborne, has today released a report on the banking system. We answer five questions on the reports recommendation.

What are the main findings of the report?

The fifth report from the commission, which was established last year in response to a number of scandals involving the banking industry, recommended that senior bankers guilty of reckless misconduct should be jailed.

It also lambasted the lack of accountability of bankers and recommended that some bonuses should be withheld for up to 10 years.

"Senior executives were aware that they would not be punished for what they could not see and promptly donned the blindfolds.

"Where they could not claim ignorance, they fell back on the claim that everyone was party to a decision, so that no individual could be held squarely to blame - the Murder on the Orient Express defence," the report said.

What other recommendations does the report make?

It called on the government to review alternatives for selling off the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and said there should be more action to make the banking market more competitive.

Other recommendations were that banks should be legally required to put financial safety ahead of shareholder interests.

 Senior bankers should be assigned clear personal responsibilities, with the legal onus on them to show they have done all that is reasonably required.

Deferred pay and pension rights should also be cancellable if a banker misbehaves, or - in the case of senior managers - if the bank has to be bailed out.

Did the report say anything about banking culture?

Yes. It suggested banks should publish their gender ratios and take action when there is an imbalance. It attacked the male-dominated culture on trading floors.

It also said there should be an independent code of conduct for bankers and more needs to be done to change banking culture.

What has the government said about the report?

The called it an "impressive piece of work" and have vowed to respond to the report before the summer recess.

A spokesperson speaking to the BBC also said:

"Where legislation is needed, we have said we will support it, and the banking bill currently before Parliament can be amended to ensure they are quickly enacted.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott, also told the BBC: "Why are there no banged-up bankers? That's what most people want to know after the last five years of scandals and shame."

What have representatives of the banking industry said?

Former RBS chairman and chief executive Sir George Mathewson told the BBC his opinion on the recommendation to defer bonuses for up to 10 years:

"I find that a little strange. If you are going to have bonuses, they are to incentivise behaviours. Ten years out is not an easy way to imagine incentivisation occurring."

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

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I'll vote against bombing Isis - but my conscience is far from clear

Chi Onwurah lays out why she'll be voting against British airstrikes in Syria.

I have spent much of the weekend considering how I will vote on the question of whether the UK should extend airstrikes against Daesh/Isis from Iraq to Syria, seeking out and weighing the evidence and the risks.

My constituents have written, emailed, tweeted, facebooked or stopped me in the street to share their thoughts. Most recognised what a difficult and complex decision it is. When I was selected to be the Labour candidate for Newcastle Central I was asked what I thought would be the hardest part of being an MP.

I said it would be this.

I am not a pacifist, I believe our country is worth defending and our values worth fighting for. But the decision to send British Armed Forces into action is, rightly, a heavy responsibility.

For me it comes down to two key questions. The security of British citizens, and the avoidance of civilian casualties. These are separate operational and moral questions but they are linked in that it is civilian casualties which help fuel the Daesh ideology that we cannot respect and value the lives of those who do not believe as we do. There is also the important question of solidarity with the French in the wake of their grievous and devastating loss; I shall come to that later.

I listened very carefully to the Prime Minister as he set out the case for airstrikes on Thursday and I share his view that Daesh represents a real threat to UK citizens. However he did not convince me that UK airstrikes at this time would materially reduce that threat. The Prime Minister was clear that Daesh cannot be defeated from the air. The situation in Syria is complex and factionalised, with many state and non-state actors who may be enemies of our enemy and yet not our friend. The Prime Minister claimed there were 70,000 ground troops in the moderate Free Syrian Army but many experts dispute that number and the evidence does not convince me that they are in a position to lead an effective ground campaign. Bombs alone will not prevent Daesh obtaining money, arms and more recruits or launching attacks on the UK. The Prime Minister did not set out how we would do that, his was not a plan for security and peace in Syria with airstrikes a necessary support to it, but a plan to bomb Syria, with peace and security cited in support of it. That is not good enough for me.

Daesh are using civilian population as human shields. Syrians in exile speak of the impossibility of targeting the terrorists without hitting innocent bystanders. I fear that bombing Raqqa to eliminate Daesh may be like bombing Gaza to eliminate Hamas – hugely costly in terms of the civilian population and ultimately ineffectual.

Yet the evil that Daesh perpetrate demands a response. President Hollande has called on us to join with French forces. I lived in Paris for three years, I spent time in just about every location that was attacked two weeks ago, I have many friends living in Paris now, I believe the French are our friends and allies and we should stand and act in solidarity with them, and all those who have suffered in Mali, Kenya, Nigeria, Lebanon, Tunisia and around the world.

But there are other ways to act as well as airstrikes. Britain is the only G7 country to meet its international development commitments, we are already one of the biggest humanitarian contributors to stemming the Syrian crisis, we can do more not only in terms of supporting refugees but helping those still in Syria, whether living in fear of Daesh or Assad. We can show the world that our response is to build rather than bomb. The Prime Minister argues that without taking part in the bombing we will not have a place at the table for the reconstruction. I would think our allies would be reluctant to overlook our financial commitment.

We can also do more to cut off Daesh funding, targeting their oil wells, their revenues, their customers and their suppliers. This may not be as immediately satisfying as bombing the terrorists but it is a more effective means of strangling them.

The vast majority of the constituents who contacted me were against airstrikes. I agree with them for the reasons I set out above. I should say that I have had no experience of bullying or attempts at intimidation in reaching this decision, Newcastle Central is too friendly, frank, comradely and Geordie a constituency for that. But some have suggested that I should vote against airstrikes to ensure a “clear conscience” ’. This is not the case. There will be more killings and innocent deaths whether there are UK airstrikes or not, and we will all bear a portion of responsibility for them.

A version of this article was originally sent to Chi Onwurah's constituents, and can be read here