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I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new role and I am grateful to him for his welcome to me. Although I listened very carefully to his remarks, I am not quite sure whether the Opposition accept our proposals or whether they are stuck in the past defending to the last the former Government's regulatory architecture, which they put in place in 1997. It is time that the Opposition faced up to this problem: do they accept that the system put in place by Mr Brown was flawed and needs reform, or are they the last people to defend the status quo in this country?
The hon. Gentleman asked a number of detailed questions. Let me address them. He recognised the build-up of systemic risk in the economy over the course of the past 13 years, but he must acknowledge that the reforms introduced by his right hon. Friend in 1997 took away from the Bank of England the power to monitor and respond to those risks.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the appointments to the Financial Policy Committee, and they will be consistent with the approach currently adopted towards the Monetary Policy Committee. He referred to the Bingham report and the collapse of BCCI and, as he will remember from the exchange between Mr Darling and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor yesterday, the Chancellor is going to look into that matter.
The hon. Gentleman is right to say that the FSA has made progress, and that is one reason why we are delighted that Hector Sants has agreed to lead the FSA through the transition period and then to become the chief executive of the PRA. No matter how far the FSA improves in the execution of its role, the reality is that the flawed architecture that the hon. Gentleman's Government put in place undermines all that it does. This package of reforms ensures that we have the right regulatory architecture in place to identify and tackle the systemic risks to which he referred and ensures proper protection for consumers so that they will never again be let down.
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