Posts Tagged ‘Libor’

Once again we find Cameron standing up for the wrong people and mixing with the wrong crowd

26/09/2013, 06:31:09 PM

by Michael Dugher

Despite the fact that the city broker ICAP, which was founded and run by David Cameron’s former treasurer Michael Spencer, has been fined £55 million by regulators over the Libor scandal, it has been confirmed that Mr Spencer will be attending the Conservative party conference in Manchester.  This will give the Tory donor unrivalled access to both the prime minister and the chancellor.  No wonder people say Cameron can’t stand up for working people, just a privileged few.  Once again we find Cameron mixing with the wrong crowd.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the US has found that ICAP brokers, including one known as “Lord Libor”, helped rig the inter-bank lending rate for a period of at least four years.  And the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK has said that the culture at ICAP Europe Limited exacerbated the problem, which included a “heavy focus on revenue at the expense of regulatory requirements”.  Indeed, it was discovered that the desk at the centre of the misconduct was not audited for four years.

Cameron fought tooth and nail last year to avoid launching a proper investigation into the rigging of interest rates and now it has come out that the company of one his biggest donors was heavily involved in the fraud.  In the House of Commons in July 2012, Ed Miliband called for a two-part, judge-led inquiry into what happened as well as the wider culture and practices of the industry.  But Cameron repeatedly refused.  Why was it that he was so determined not to act?

Electoral Commission records show that Michael Spencer has donated a total of £4,804,681.46 to the Conservative Party.  This includes £279,389.59 in person and £4,525,291.87 through his holding company IPGL Ltd, which owns a chunk of ICAP.   He was also one of the “significant donors” who was given special access to the prime minister and the hancellor through private Downing Street dinners (the “dinners for donors” scandal) and as part of the Tories’ exclusive leader’s group.

Spencer was Cameron’s co-treasurer between 2006 and 2010 and he is still the chairman of the Conservative Foundation – an organisation set up to support the party’s financial future.  The minister for the cabinet office, Francis Maude, even described Michael Spencer as a “personal friend of the prime minister and the prime minister’s wife”.


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Whip’s Notebook: Cameron is now more focused on party management than running the country

03/07/2012, 07:15:38 AM

by Jon Ashworth

Two weeks ago PMQs served as a reminder of what could have been for a generation of Tory MPs. With Cameron and Clegg both away it fell to William Hague, foreign secretary and also first secretary of state to bat for the government. And what a joy he was to watch. Of course I don’t agree with his answers, but his delivery was assured, witty, measured and a total contrast to the increasingly irritable, bad tempered, stroppy performance we’re now used to from the prime minister.

So far the conventional wisdom on PMQs has been that Cameron is a class act on whom its difficult to land a glove. But despite Cameron’s relative strengths compared to others on the Tory benches, its strikes me as increasingly obvious that the conventional wisdom on PMQs is wrong.

In contrast to Cameron, Ed Miliband focuses on fundamentals at PMQs whether that’s the economy, the squeeze in living standards or the crisis in confidence in the political system exemplified by a prime minister on the run who refuses to report a cabinet minister to the independent advisor on the ministerial code.

Just in the last week, Cameron dithered on whether to hold an inquiry on the Libor scandal before proposing his inadequate, sticking plaster solution of a joint parliamentary committee in response to sustained pressure from Ed Miliband.

By focusing on these big issues, people are again starting to take a look at Labour though I don’t think anyone in the parliamentary Labour party is in any doubt about how much further we need to travel. However the performance of the government is starting reinforce doubts about the Tories and the competence of David Cameron.

The economic policy of the government isn’t working with growth downgraded and borrowing up. Living standards are dropping and youth unemployment stubbornly high. It’s hurting but not working.


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