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28 June 2012

Miliband calls for criminal investigation into Barclays

"This cannot be a slap on the wrist," says Labour leader.

By George Eaton

As I predicted he would, Ed Miliband has used his speech to Unite’s conference to call for a criminal investigation into Barclays over its manipulation of interest rates. Here’s the key quote:

[T]his cannot be about a slap on the wrist, a fine and the foregoing of bonuses.

To believe that is the end of the matter would be totally wrong.

When ordinary people break the law, they face charges, prosecution and punishment.

We need to know who knew what when, and criminal prosecutions should follow against those who broke the law.

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The same should happen here.

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The public who are paying the price for bankers’ irresponsibility will expect nothing less.

In response, Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, George Osborne’s representative on earth, has accused Miliband of “jumping on the bandwagon”, suggesting that Labour should apologise for its failure to regulate the City properly. We can expect Osborne to take a similar line when he delivers his Commons statement on Barclays at 12:15pm.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson, who rarely misses an opportunity to burnish his populist credentials, has told BBC News that what happened Barclays was “almost certainly criminal” and that “there needs to be a proper investigation.”