U.K. lawmakers will vote today on the type of inquiry into Barclays Plc’s Libor-rigging, determining how deeply to examine the issue and how quickly changes to the law may follow.
The battle to set the terms of the inquiry underscores the political effort to assign blame between the two main parties. Lawmakers will decide between a judge-led inquiry into the banking industry sought by opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and the six-month-long lawmaker-led probe focused on Libor favored by Prime Minister David Cameron. A series of votes are scheduled for around 5 p.m. in London.
“The most important thing about an inquiry is that it is swift and decisive, is set up as fast as possible, gets going as fast as possible, reports as fast as possible and is transparent and open at every stage,” Cameron told the House of Commons yesterday. “That is why I favor a public parliamentary inquiry rather than a judge-led inquiry. I want us to legislate on this, starting next year.”
Miliband’s party is likely to lose the vote, as the Conservatives’ junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, vote with Cameron’s Tories. If he loses, Miliband must decide if he will refuse to participate in the lawmaker-led inquiry.
“There are concerns also that the inquiry that has been talked about is far too narrow, focused solely on the scandal of Libor when we know that the problems go much wider, to the culture and practices in the City,” Miliband said in reply to Cameron yesterday.
Cameron has appointed Conservative lawmaker Andrew Tyrie to lead the probe. Seeking to avoid the appearance of an establishment whitewash, Tyrie said late last night he would not proceed without Labour support.
Barclays, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets, was fined a record 290 million pounds ($453 million) on June 25 for rigging Libor, a global benchmark.