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Beaconsfield MP and Attorney General Dominic Grieve: Govt right not to use judge for Barclays scandal probe
THE Government's decision not to have a judge led public inquiry over the Barclays scandal is right, Attorney General Dominic Grieve insists.
There was a heated exchange in Parliament last week, in which the Beaconsfield MP was involved, over how to examine what went on at the bank.
The revelations about the Libor 'rate rigging' have rocked the financial world.
Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond quit in the wake of the scandal, which landed the company with a £290million fine from the Financial Services Authority.
Labour called for a inquiry to be led by a judge, just as the current one on the press and the media is being.
But the Government said it did not want another in the mould of the Leveson Inquiry, saying it would be too lengthy when it wants to pass laws as soon as possible to prevent a repeat.
Instead, a group of Parliamentarians will hold an inquiry, after the Coalition won a House of Commons vote.
Mr Grieve, the Government's top law advisor, told the BFP: “Parliamentary inquiries can be very effective and they will normally be effective if they have a good chairman and work on a bi-partisan basis.
“And also if the individual members don't try to just use it as an opportunity to make a political statement and grandstanding.”
He expressed faith in Chairman Andrew Tyrie.
Speaking at Flackwell Heath's Cherry Fayre, Mr Grieve said: “The problem with the alternative (judge led) is they are likely to be very long and drawn out. There are two issues with this.
“The first is there's also a criminal investigation.
“It really is important whatever inquiry takes place it doesn't interfere with the criminal investigation. “Actually, I think the Government has done it right in suggesting we should have a parliamentary inquiry and not going for a judicial inquiry which would have been much longer and is likely to cause potentially more problems.
“It can sometimes be worked through but a parliamentary inquiry, as long as it acts responsibly, is probably easier to manage than having a judge.”
Labour lost a Commons vote calling for a judicial probe and has agreed to cooperate with the Government's proposal.
However, it has said the parliamentary inquiry will not be broad enough and needed to look more deeply at issues with banking generally, rather than just Barclays and the Libor scandal.
A poll suggests Bucks Free Press readers backed the Labour plan, with 77 per cent (343 votes) saying there should be a judge led investigation.