THE Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, has been
appointed to sit on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking
Standards, which will investigate the Libor scandal.
MPs voted to set up the commission on Tuesday. It will be
composed of five MPs and five peers, and will be led by Andrew
Tyrie MP, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. Bishop
Welby will sit on the commission as "a non-politically aligned
member of the House of Lords", Durham diocese said.
The terms of reference, set out in a parliamentary motion, ask
the commission to consider and report on the "professional
standards and culture of the UK banking sector, taking account of
regulatory and competition investigations into the Libor
rate-setting process". It is also to look at "lessons to be learned
about corporate governance, transparency, and conflicts of
interest, and their implications for regulation and for government
The commission will sit through the summer recess, and report
before 18 December, in time for its recommendations to be included
in the Banking Reform Bill. It will have the power to appoint
lawyers to cross-examine witnesses.
Bishop Welby knows something of the territory, having worked for
many years in the oil industry, including five years as Group
Treasurer of Enterprise Oil, a FTSE 100 company.
He said on Tuesday: "Having started dealing in these markets
from the oil-industry side in the late 1970s, and with experience
not only of Libor-related instruments but also of a range of
derivatives and many other forms of market, as well as being
involved in the City of London through work on ethical investing in
recent years, this is an area where I hope to be able to make a
The work commitment involved in sitting on the commission would
be "intense, but short-lived", he said. Ethical markets, he said,
were "essential to a flourishing economy, and thus jobs".
In recent months, Bishop Welby has made a number of
interventions in the House of Lords on the topic of finance.
Earlier this month, he spoke in favour of an amendment to the
Financial Services Bill which would make the Financial Policy
Committee responsible for promoting "a stable and sustainable
supply of finance of the economy" (
News, 6 July).
Speaking in the Committee stage of the Financial Services Bill
in the House of Lords, on Wednesday, Bishop Welby said that "in
areas where access to finance is most wanting. . . regulation.
. . is what will enable competition to start to break the
stranglehold of some of our larger lenders, who neither lend in
these areas themselves nor are willing to make space for others to
lend in them. That is a fundamental reason why there is still a
shortage of finance."
The Committee stage of the Bill continues on 25 July.
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