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Bank boss to face MPs on rates role
Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker will give evidence to MPs next week on the rate-rigging scandal after he was dragged into the affair by former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond.
Mr Diamond revealed a record of a conversation with Mr Tucker in October 2008 in which the Deputy Governor relayed concerns in Whitehall about Barclays' high Libor rates. Mr Tucker will appear before the Treasury Select Committee on Monday to give his side of the story, after requesting an opportunity to clarify his role in the crisis.
The confirmation came as MPs rejected calls for a Leveson Inquiry-style investigation into Britain's banks. The Commons rejected by 320 votes to 239, majority 81, a motion tabled by Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for an "independent, forensic" inquiry into the industry's "culture and professional standards".
The House backed a Government plan to set up a joint committee of MPs and peers to investigate the banking industry by 330 votes to 226, majority 104.
Earlier, Chancellor George Osborne and his opposite number, Ed Balls, were involved in angry exchanges over allegations that the shadow chancellor was involved in the Libor rate-rigging scandal. Mr Balls denied any involvement and claimed Mr Osborne's "cheap and partisan" conduct "demeans the office he holds".
Mr Osborne made the claims in The Spectator. He said: "As for the role of the Labour government and the people around Gordon Brown - well, I think there are questions to be asked of them. They were clearly involved and we just haven't heard the full facts, I don't think, of who knew what when."
Labour and Westminster's minority parties had pushed for an independent "forensic" judicial public inquiry, claiming it is the only way to restore public faith in the disgraced industry. But the coalition insists a parliamentary investigation is the best way to get speedy recommendations that can be included in a banking reform Bill early next year.
Mr Miliband insisted the two-part judicial inquiry he called for would report back on Libor rate-fixing by the end of the year before going on to look at wider issues. The whole thing would be wrapped up by summer 2013 and the cost would be met by the banking industry, Labour's motion said.
It was backed by the DUP, SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru, Green Party and Independent MP Sylvia Hermon.
The man chosen by the coalition to chair the parliamentary joint committee - the chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, Tory MP Andrew Tyrie - has said he will not go ahead unless there is cross-party consensus. Prime Minister David Cameron insisted on Wednesday that there was no difference between him and the Opposition on the seriousness of the rate-rigging scandal.