Banking (Special Provisions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:30 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Wirral Lord Hunt of Wirral Conservative 12:30 pm, 21st February 2008

The Minister is on shifting sands. I know that a week is a long time in politics, but when the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his announcement on Monday, he made it absolutely clear that:

"The Government have no intention ... to use the Bill to bring any institution other than Northern Rock into temporary public ownership".—[Hansard, Commons, 18/2/08; col. 22.]

Last night, the Minister started flirting with the need for "necessary defences" in a "rapidly changing environment". Does he realise that the Bill has cast a shadow on the banking industry? It is about time that he made the position absolutely clear. Is it just for Northern Rock or is it to cover some other circumstance which the Government can or cannot foresee at present?