Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
28 June 2012

Will there be a Leveson inquiry for the banks?

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

By George Eaton

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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy