Backbench Business - Whistleblowingbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 3rd July 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton 4:50 pm, 3rd July 2019

Yes. I ask myself all the time, “Why is it like this?” and that is one of the reasons—the revolving door. Those people are part of a wider group or club—the old boys’ tie kind of stuff. This cannot be allowed to be the case.

As I said, the right hon. Gentleman highlighted a case that was heavily reported where the FCA told RBS who the whistleblower was. That seems absolutely unthinkable, and it was criticised by the complaints commissioner. When the FCA dealt with the case of the chief exec of Barclays, Jes Staley, who had tried to find out the identity of a whistleblower, which is totally against protocol, he was fined a modest sum that was probably a few weeks’ wages for him. Where is the deterrent there for not treating whistleblowers in the wrong way?

In my own experience, Joanne Rossouw contacted me about fraud at Barclays relating to payment protection insurance claims under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. She felt that there was a total lack of protection and support from the FCA and that its communications were simply unacceptable. The case of Paul Carlier was heavily reported. He whistleblew on foreign exchange dealers at Lloyds and was then unfairly dismissed. The FCA had promised to support his case and to provide an opinion to the tribunal he went to when he was unfairly dismissed, but did not do so, despite Andrew Brodie at the FCA calling the Lloyds process for the treatment of whistleblowers a whitewash and a joke. That was not the only case—there were others that he dealt with. Yet these people are not sanctioned. Why is that?

Paul Moore, my constituent, was the first person to raise the issues at HBOS. In 2004, he described a toxic culture at HBOS, with pressured sales targets and people taking unacceptable risks in lending money. Of course, HBOS collapsed in 2008. He was unfairly dismissed. He was treated disgracefully by the Financial Services Authority, as it was then. As the right hon. Member for North Norfolk said, if we had taken a robust approach when whistleblowers came forward, it may have stopped the financial crash happening in the first place, which cost our taxpayers £1.8 trillion.