PRIME Minister David Cameron has launched a full parliamentary inquiry into the rate-rigging scandal amid a wave of criticism of British banking.
The Prime Minister batted away calls for a Leveson-style inquiry into the issues, insisting he wanted to reach the truth quickly.
His comments came in a statement to MPs after Barclays boss Bob Diamond admitted he was disappointed that the rate-rigging scandal happened on his watch.
However, he signalled that he would fight for his job, saying he wanted to “make sure that it cannot happen again”.
Barclays chairman Marcus Agius resigned yesterday and announced an internal review into the bank’s “flawed” practices.
Mr Cameron said the Serious Fraud Office were looking at whether criminal prosecutions could be brought.
He went on: “I want us to establish a full parliamentary committee of inquiry involving both Houses chaired by the Chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee.
“This Inquiry will take evidence under oath, have full access to papers, officials and Ministers – including Ministers and special advisers from the last government – and it will be given, by the government, all the resources it needs to do its job properly.”
Mr Cameron added: “This is the right approach because it will be able to start immediately it will be accountable to this House and it will get to the truth quickly, so we can make sure this can never happen again.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband vowed to continue pushing for a “full and open” independent inquiry, saying: “I’m not convinced by his way forward because I do not believe it measures up to the scale of what is required.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The Government’s reluctant conversion to a new parliamentary inquiry into banking is a welcome recognition of public anger, but still falls short of a proper judge-led inquiry immune from the party politics and lobbying that surround any parliamentary process.
“That is why we need Leveson to deal with media barons and something similar to deal with over-mighty bankers.
“The inquiry should not be judged on the number of heads that roll but whether it leads to the root and branch reforms that the banks have successfully lobbied against for years.
“The fact is banks stopped servicing the UK economy properly long before the crash. We need a banking sector that does far more of its core job –- supporting consumers and businesses – and far less of the socially-useless financial wizardry that got us into this mess.”
Announcing his resignation, Mr Agius, 65, who was chairman for six years, said he was “truly sorry” for the affair, which has “dealt a devastating blow to Barclays’ reputation”.