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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Partisan squabbling isn't the answer the public want

Labour and the Conservatives, backed by the Liberal Democrats, have spent most of the morning clashing over the banking inquiry announced by David Cameron yesterday. The Labour party are still demanding a full public inquiry. The government argues that they take to long and they do have a point. The Chilcot inquiry in to the build up to the war in Iraq was started in July 2009 - three years later it still hasn't reported. 

The Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary Danny Alexander toured the studios this morning saying that the joint House, cross party committee could start immediately and report in six months. As David Cameron pointed out yesterday; there is no one he'd like to see more in the dock than Ed Balls, a joke repeated by George Osborne on the Today programme, but speed is of the essence which is why they want the quicker inquiry.

Ed Miliband said on twitter "If David Cameron doesn’t order a judge-led inquiry, he will be failing to understand the scale of this crisis". Conservative sources are briefing that "Labour opposed to Parliamentary inquiry into banks is to save Ed Balls' skin." Who happened to be  the City Minister in the last Labour government when the Libor scandal happened. 

The government look to be pressing on with the Parliamentary inquiry but Labour will be moving a vote in the House of Lords on a judge led pulblic inquiry. To win that vote they'd need the Crossbenchers to vote with them and they usually stay out of votes that are purely partisan. Labour are also pressing for a "free vote" in the Commons. Probably a free vote as turkeys don't vote for Christmas and people who will be vilified by an inquiry are hardly likely to vote for it!

The government and the opposition need to stop playing politics. As the former Labour Cabinet Minister Alastair Darling told the Sun on Sunday "we know what went wrong we don't need an expensive inquiry to tell us". The cross party committee of both Houses can start immediately, they can have access to everything and witnesses will be under oath. As the Elvis song said "a little less conversation - a little more action please"!