As Jim wrote earlier on this blog, the Tories and Labour are trading accusations of hypocrisy over their response to the news that Barclays has been hit with a record fine for trying to manipulate key interest rates.
The Tories are accusing Labour of under-regulating the banks; Labour reply they were under pressure from the Tories to regulate even less. Both are right, and here are a couple of quotes both will use to score points off each other.
The first is from Lord Tunnicliffe, Labour’s deputy chief whip in the Lords, who admitted today that his party did not legislate to make such manipulation a criminal offence: Read more
The line from Downing St this morning was very clear: the Barclays/Libor scandal and others were less likely to be repeated under the government’s new regulatory regime. The prime minister’s spokeswoman said:
The government is taking measures over regulation because soft-touch regulation under the previous government hasn’t worked. Hence we have seen this sort of thing happen. This activity happened at a time when there was soft-touch regulation in place.
George Osborne is in the Commons right now extolling the virtues of the coalition’s reform of the regulatory regime and replacement of the FSA, the City watchdog which is currently being dismantled: “How were such failures allowed to continue unchecked?” he asked MPs of the old regulatory system. Read more