I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the independent review of HBOS Reading.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Christopher. There are some fundamental business principles that underpin any free market economy: we compete on a fair and level playing field; we all have a fair, fighting chance of success; we all play by the same rules; and our regulations and the rule of law ensure, where injustices occur, that justice is done and is seen to be done.
Many people in the Public Gallery today no longer believe in those principles. They have been subject to scandalous, criminal fraud perpetrated by senior bank managers at Lloyds and HBOS. They have had to suffer further scandal at the hands of those at the highest level in the bank who, when made aware of the fraud, instead of holding their hands up to what had gone wrong, denied any wrongdoing for 10 years. Indeed, there is clear and compelling evidence that the most senior management sought to cover up the fraud, suppressed evidence, and used the HBOS review process, which is supposedly there to compensate the victims, to minimise payments and perpetuate the cover-up. Incredibly, our system—our regulators—stood by and allowed the fraud against the victims to continue.