British Faction Takes Step Forward
in Push for Glass-Steagall
July 19, 2012 (EIRNS)—In a major step forward, the British Parliament on July 17 set up a new panel to investigate the Libor-rigging crime, which includes three known leading advocates of a return to the Glass-Steagall standard. Officially called the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the Commission is comprised of 10 members, five of whom come from the House of Lords and five from Commons. The panel will question witnesses under oath and come up with "lessons to be learned about corporate governance, transparency and conflicts of interest, and their implications for regulation and for government policy."
Most prominent among the Glass-Steagall advocates is Lord Nigel Lawson, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher from 1983 to 1989. He then left the government, according to the London Guardian, because another Thatcher adviser, Sir Alan Walters, was undermining Lawson's policy for a fixed exchange rate for the pound. He is also known as a leading "climate skeptic."
Conservative Lawson was known previously to EIR to have been for Glass-Steagall. Both Bloomberg today, and Business Week this week cite this fact, noting that he had called for a British version of the Glass-Steagall Act already in 2009.
Also on the Commission are Liberal Democratic MP John Thurso, and Lord John McFall, from Labour, whom Bloomberg describes as "a former chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Committee (under P.M. Gordon Brown-ed.) and another advocate of dividing up banks."
Thurso, also known as John Archibald Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso of the Clan Sinclair, was quoted in the July 1 The Scotsman, criticizing the Vickers report and saying:
"The money that is going in from the high street is going into the City gambling dens instead of being available to be lent to businesses and I think there is no choice now than to, by law, separate investment banking from retail banking."
The Commission is to be chaired by MP Andrew Tyrie, and also includes Mark Garnier MP, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Kramer, Andy Love MP, Pat McFadden MP, the Rt. Hon. Lord Turnbull, and the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham.