Darling accused of breaking guidelines over big bank loans

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling broke guidelines by not disclosing loans of more than &pound;60bn to Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS last year, a top opposition MP said yesterday.<br /><br />Tory MP Edward Leigh, who heads the cross-party Public Accounts Committee, said Darling went against ministerial guidelines and past practice by not telling him and the Labour chairman of the Treasury committee, John McFall, about the loans.<br /><br />Darling told parliament earlier yesterday that he had chosen not to make public some &pound;61.6bn of emergency loans by the Bank of England to RBS and Lloyds when he approved them at the height of the credit crunch last year, to avoid a repeat of 2007&rsquo;s run on Northern Rock&rsquo;s deposits.<br /><br />But Leigh , whose committee scrutinises government spending, said Darling should have told him and McFall in private, in line with finance ministry guidelines.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am greatly disturbed that the decision was taken to by-pass the rules in this case and would appreciate a full explanation from you,&rdquo; Leigh said in a letter to Darling released by the Public Accounts Committee.