Mandatory Reports to Be Made by Banks

Part of New Clause 3 – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 15th July 1991.

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Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam , Redcar 4:45 pm, 15th July 1991

I shall try to be brief and not repeat the comments of many hon. Members, particularly the long list of questions of my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours). We look forward to answers from the Economic Secretary to those questions.

Much of today's debate has focused on the nature of systemic risk to the banking system. The Opposition have made it clear that they understand the arguments about systemic risk and getting sufficient information to take a case to the Serious Fraud Office with the legal backing and status to make it stick. We also understand the time needed for the Bank of England to put together a sufficient case. There is no disagreement about that.

However, the Opposition believe that fraud at BCCI was possibly ignored for far too long while the importance of avoiding systemic risk to the system was considered paramount. The Economic Secretary must explain that this evening. It would also be helpful if, when responding, he could clarify a number of issues raised in the press. There has been nowhere else to debate the matter during the past four or five days.

First, can the Price Waterhouse report of March 1990 be made public? It seems that the Wall Street Journal has more influence and the American press have better copies of that report than we do on this side of the Atlantic. Secondly, in last Monday's debate the Economic Secretary said that information came to light at the beginning of this year. He referred to a manager in the bank and used the pronoun "she".