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Banking Inquiry A 'Total Joke', Says MP Excluded From Committee

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JOHN MANN
John Mann has said the new banking inquiry is a 'total joke. | PA

The parliamentary committee set up to investigate the Barclays Libor rate-fixing scandal has been described as a "total joke" by a Labour MP who has unexpectedly been left off its membership.

John Mann, who has made a name for himself for his combative questioning of bankers while grilling them at the Treasury committee, said it was clear he was "too outspoken" to be included.

Commenting on Friday morning, Mann also said the same appeared to be true of his Tory colleague on the Treasury committee, Andrea Leadsom, who has also not been named on the new Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

Leadsom won plaudits from many for her tough questioning of ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond last week. But she also admitted that she and her fellow politicians had been pretty "useless" in uncovering the truth behind the affair.

The Tory MP, who used to work for Barclays, caused a stir when she said George Osborne should apologise to Ed Balls after accusing him of being involved in the Libor scandal. A charge the shadow chancellor strongly denied.


John Mann MP
New finance committee is a total joke

The leaderships of the main parties have agreed the membership of the committee leading Mann to accuse it of being a "whitewash".

“Both Andrea and I were available for the Inquiry and because we are too outspoken we have been blocked," Mann said.

"This exposes the Inquiry as a total whitewash with Andrew Tyrie reaching his conclusions in advance of the meetings.

"We need to get to the bottom of this scandal and I’m therefore setting up my own inquiry into this dreadful mess”.

In characteristically bold exchanges at the Treasury committee last week, Mann offered to tattoo Barclays' founding principles of "honesty, integrity and plain dealing" on Diamond's knuckles lest he forget them.

"Either you were complicit in what was going on, or you were grossly negligent, or you were grossly incompetent. That is the only conclusion," he told the banker.


John Mann MP
Tyrie had already reached his conclusions before he whitewashed libor scandal

The MPs who have been selected to sit on the panel investigating the banks are Conservative Mark Garnier, Labour MPs Pat Mcfadden and Andy Love and Lib Dem John Thurso - all of whom are members of the Treasury committee.

The membership of the commission was agreed by the leadership of the main parties, leading to accusations of a stich-up.

"Why aren't the MPs for the Joint Select Committee on Banking being elected by their respective parties," asked the Tory chair of the public administration committee Bernard Jenkin on Twitter. "Looks very establishment!"

Another member of the Treasury committee who has not been included in the new inquiry is Jesse Norman, the Tory rebel who led efforts to oppose the House of Lords Reform Bill.

Ed Miliband and the Labour Party had initially opposed the creation of a parliamentary inquiry, arguing that only a fully independent judge-led inquiry could get to the bottom of what went wrong in the City.

However after it lost a Commons vote on the issue it agreed to give its support to the politician-led investigation as favoured by David Cameron.

The Commission, which will study professional standards and the culture of the banking sector and recommend new legislation in the wake of the Libor rate-fixing scandal, will also feature members of the House of Lords.

A motion to set up the committee has been signed by Prime Minster David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne as well as Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

Downing Street stressed that the three main parties had agreed who would be on the committee.

"The membership of the committee is something for the political parties and they have agreed between themselves who can serve," the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

"It is an unusual committee in that it can draw on advice and that includes using counsel to question witnesses."