Clause 44 - International obligations

Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury)

The clause might be of interest to members of the Conservative party, in particular, but I am sure that it will be of interest to all hon. Members generally.  It relates to the ability of the European Union to overrule UK domestic regulatory arrangements. Although it seems a fairly short clause, it deals with international obligations that the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 describes more widely. The clause ultimately gives responsibility to the Treasury and, in some respects, to other organisations to make bodies aware when they are infringing on European Union rules and laws. It gives powers to the Treasury to enforce those EU obligations.

I am surprised that the Minister has not referred to the MOU on international co-ordination under the clause, given that it would have been the place to discuss the need to co-ordinate the European supervisory arrangements with the new regulators under the Bill. I have already made my views known to the hon. Gentleman about the mismatch between constructing the regulatory architecture in such a way that it causes confusion when trying to influence those European decisions. That is relevant to the clause because, if the domestic regulators are hobbled in their ability to shape and steer the European agenda, all they will have to do is simply to implement and transpose obligations that have been decided elsewhere rather than here in the United Kingdom.

We need a regulatory system with the ability to shape the regulatory agenda determined in Brussels, but the set of structures under the Bill are not shaped up to take the leadership role that should be in place. Will the Minister explain why there is no reference to the MOU on international co-ordination under the clause?

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

We have been over the international MOU, and I do not have anything more to add to what I said then.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury)

The Minister is taking a Trappist view of European issues. The matter is possibly something that we will have to raise at a future sitting of the European Scrutiny Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.