THE WAR of words between MPs and former Barclays bosses escalated yesterday as furious parliamentarians defended their report into the bank’s Libor manipulation and their criticism of Bob Diamond.
Former Barclays director Sir Nigel Rudd expressed shock at the accusations that Diamond had been dishonest with the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), saying the damning report was “completely unacceptable.”
But MP Andrea Leadsom hit back at the criticism, telling City A.M. she is “astonished that anyone who listened to the evidence session would think Diamond was completely open.”
The TSCs’s report into Barclays’s rigging of the key interbank lending rate condemned the attitude of top executives at the bank.
“Such behaviour would only be possible if the management of the bank turned a blind eye to the culture of the trading floor,” the report said.
“The standards and culture of Barclays, and banking more widely, are in a poor state,” it said, adding it was unlikely the bank acted alone.
And MPs singled out former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond for criticism.
“Select committees are entitled to expect candour and frankness from witnesses before them,” the report explained.
“Mr Diamond’s evidence, in the Committee’s view, fell well short of the standard that Parliament expects.”
But long-time ally Rudd told the Sunday Times “I don’t believe there is any evidence that he misled parliament; he genuinely did not know the answers to the questions put to him. It is completely unacceptable to give the impression that Bob Diamond or his character is lacking in any way.”
And Diamond himself claimed he had done nothing wrong.
“I answered every question that was put to me to me truthfully, candidly and based on information available to me,” he said in a statement.
“I categorically refute any suggestion to the contrary,” he went on.
However Leadsom firmly rejected the criticism of the TSC’s report.
“There were serious failures at Barclays and Diamond’s account was not impressive,” she said.