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Banking Industry: Code of Conduct

Volume 563: debated on Tuesday 14 May 2013

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was established to consider and report on professional standards and culture in the UK banking sector. The Government look forward to considering the commission’s report and we will make decisions on the need for further action in the light of its recommendations, including on whether there should be a code of conduct.

A recent survey by Which? showed that 87% of the public wanted an independent code of conduct for bankers. Does the Minister agree that such a code would restore trust? Does he also believe that he should look again at the amendments on banking reform tabled by Labour proposing a licensing system that would enable bankers who broke the rules to be struck off?

As the hon. Lady knows—her colleague the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) might also like to comment on this—the commission has been hard at work considering various representations, including those from Which? and the British Bankers Association, on whether there should be a code of conduct. I am sure that the House would expect us to wait for the commission’s recommendations and then to respond to them.

Does the Minister agree that it was politically unwise for the Treasury to brief that it hoped the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards would endorse its politically motivated attacks on the previous Chancellor’s bail-out of the Royal Bank of Scotland? Does he further agree that the uppermost criterion for the reprivatisation of RBS must be the interests of the taxpayers who bailed it out, rather than any political or electoral timetable?

It goes without saying that the interests of the taxpayer must be paramount, and I am not aware of any of the briefing that the right hon. Gentleman refers to.