THEY were not put in the stocks on Parliament Green but there must have been many people yesterday who wished they could have had the chance of throwing rotten eggs and sodden cabbage at the four top bankers who appeared in front of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons. In the first session of the Committee to find out just who should be blamed for the disastrous performance of British banks that led to the government's bail-out operation to save them it was the top brass of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Halifax Bank of Scotland who had shamefacedly to explain why things had gone so wrong and to offer yet more helpings of “profound and unqualified apologies for all the distress caused”.

The Committee proceedings were enlivened by the evidence of a whistleblower from HBOS who claimed that as Head Group Regulator he had frequently from 2002 onwards warned the Chief Executive and Chairman and Board of the bank that it was growing too fast and lending “too aggressively”. He said that his advice had been rejected and that eventually he was dismissed. When he took the bank to an Industrial Tribunal over his dismissal it quickly settled for “substantial damages”. This whistleblower named names, pointing at the former Chairman as the “original architect” of the failed policies and reminding the committee that the person in question is now a senior adviser to the Treasury.


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