Varley plays dealmaker

EX-BARCLAYS chief executive John Varley has driven project Merlin from the beginning, acting as the chair and chief organiser of the initiative.

Barclays was never obliged to participate in Merlin, unlike part-nationalised RBS and Lloyds, causing a flurry of speculation over Varley’s enthusiasm for the project.

New Barclays chief executive officer Bob Diamond was keen to stress Varley’s role yesterday, saying: “I pay tribute to the efforts of John Varley, who started the process.”

His words echoed those of George Osborne: “I want to thank John Varley for the huge amount of time and personal commitment he has given to this project,” said the chancellor in the Commons

One much-touted possibility is that, with Barclays behind him, Varley is eyeing a move into the House of Lords and a potential role in government. His involvement in Merlin will certainly have helped his credentials as a poacher-turned-gamekeeper in a highly charged political environment.