Tucker: Victim of his own innocence?

Paul Tucker Paul Tucker is one of the candidates to be the next governor of the Bank of England.

There was a bit of the "de haut en bas" in Paul Tucker's evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. As you may know, he is one of the candidates to be next governor of the Bank of England. So there is a question whether Mr Tucker's patrician manner is the solidity we need in these anxious times or whether a bit more of the popular touch is required.

As to the substance of his testimony, he was unambiguous that he did not ask or instruct Barclays to rig the important Libor rates.

His version, perhaps not as pellucidly presented as would have been ideal, was that he was telling Bob Diamond in their now notorious conversation at the end of October 2008, that Barclays at the time was too conspicuous and noisy in the way it was paying a higher interest rate to borrow than other banks.

He was warning Mr Diamond that if Barclays' money-market and treasury dealing desks did not show a bit more discretion in how they borrowed and how much they were prepared to pay to borrow, they risked spooking investors to such an extent that they might find the market became closed to it.

In other words, he was telling Mr Diamond to get a grip on the banks' dealing desks, to prevent Barclays becoming the third big bank of the time to be semi-nationalised.

That is Mr Tucker's version. Now the odd thing is why Mr Diamond did not communicate this message to his deputy, Jerry del Missier, who believed Mr Tucker had given the green light to fiddle the Libor rate.

Quite how this confusion arose never really became clear in Mr Diamond's testimony to MPs last week.

There was one other thing that Mr Tucker was adamant about, which was that he received no request from any civil servant or minister in the last Labour government to put pressure on Barclays to manipulate its submissions to the Libor rate-setting committee.

Which may not endear him to the Chancellor, George Osborne, who has been saying that there are questions for former Labour ministers - and especially the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls - to answer about all of this.

So, as I say, whether Mr Tucker's forthright defence of his innocence enhances his prospects of succeeding Sir Mervyn King as governor - an appointment in the gift of the chancellor and prime minister - is moot.

Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 372.



    Themasses will have to watch out for the economists with their chickens entraaails at hand trying to work their passage

  • rate this

    Comment number 371.

    "So, as I say, whether Mr Tucker's forthright defence of his innocence enhances his prospects of succeeding Sir Mervyn King as governor"


    Indeed ,the BOE is no place for a sillyTucker with Balls and themasses with their thumbs up blocking the way know that.

  • Comment number 370.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 369.

    I agree with alot of your rating Robert but it would be great if we were able to rate or endorse the ratings even if it were just to add like or dislike!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    364. John Kay and M King wrote one of great books on tax- The British Tax system. - in 1970s. Revised on number of occasions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    My apologies to the Bank Tellers of this world who if they put a foot out of place would loose their job & end up in jail. Its not the number of branches thats to blame or even the size of the banks its the commercial trading culture & system thats to blame. As we have been made to pay to prop up the banks for these failing & robberies from the public nationalisation not just regulation is needed

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    Unfortunately its the way MP's behave - we voted for them even though the people we really need stay out of politics. Its obvious that Banking now attracts people who want to get as much money for themselves via any means & so called legalised via a bonus system (ouside of laws regulations??) . We have people in prison who have done less harm to the public than our current banking system has.

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    360 "Lastly, disagree but chill out!"

    Fiar point

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    Is it true they've asked Merve to light the Olympic flame on the 28th?
    With a Zippo? Saying 'Welcome to the 29th Olympics'?
    Too late, too little & wholly irrelevant, like the BoE's interest rate cuts, crisis awareness & QE policies.
    C'mon Merve, claim you're a socialist after all & believe in public ownership & you're not frit of those nasty Marxists any more. John K would be proud of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    361 fTP - macro etc agree - rational market assumption = patently false but whilst supply side reforms may help is it your view that we have a supply side crisis - looks like a demand problem to me, but with no obvious and certainly no pain free solution. The economy is being ballanced on a gentlish deflation on the expectation of a export lead recovery that isnt going to come. So what now ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    323 TI - 'no max wage' - money supply is a state not a market responsibility, but other wise I favour economic liberty. Owners not govt should decide what to pay agents. A single low tax rate (with no allowances) except a personal allowance to take the poor out of tax -larger role for civil society - smaller role for the state - not on your side of the lobby on these issues I suspect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    360.Osbornewill not apologise.But then he is incr diverted away from turning the ship around - he needs to concerntarte on supply side reforms. He is largely inept.

    358. Macro models based on rational expectations are highly fallable. But then most economists are not macro.

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.


    Firstly, no need to correct your typos. We all understood what you meant and we all do it too. 400ch makes the message more important than spelling.

    "It is common for old lefties to demonise opponents."

    Think GO will apologise?


    Sound logic has little to do with numbers. Proof by induction, etc. ain't specialist or especially mathematical.

    Lastly, disagree but chill out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    I'm fed up of these silly MPs and their points scoring party politics.

    Not being satisfied with having got rid of Bob Diamond - they now are calling him a liar! That MP called Manning is so arrogant -rude!

    I don't care whether Bob Diamond got a billion pound- he's entitled to FAIR treatment and not this MPs witch hunt! I'd like to see Bib Diamond running the countries economy than silly Osborn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    357 fTP - whilst numerically proficient - and certainly not 'dim'. Huge chunks of conventional economic theory stands on extremely shaky and dated mathematical grounds. The base roots are turn of the century when modelling dynamics was scary. To my mind economics has some catching up to do. A 'science' that bangs on about 'shocks' to explain away dynamic behaviour has a basic theory problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    Or even contemptuous.

    Numeracy. Damned cheek, Most of the economist you speak of with such disdain are able to construct argument from first principle blindfolded. How about you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    338, You display your utter ignorance. Your views are contemptious.

    I may not like Eric Hobsawn's or Christopher Hill's but I recognise their great contributions to historical endeavour. I may not think that Krugman is right but I acknowledge his great contribuiton to trade theory. And what on earth do you understand or know about economics? You clearly show by way of your posting very little

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    338. Re Ferg

    Why bec you disagree with him? '1st Ferguson has much better knowledge of econ history than you. 2nd given equal knowledge I would prefer his opinion to yours.
    329 It is common for old lefties to demonise opponents. But by calling me a "bankers friend" one understands how little you understand. & you have cheek to suggest that argument revolves around reasonable propositions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    BoE G'vnor :.oh dear Mr P..neither Mr Tucker nor GO'D ....nor...oh gosh the Chancellor has a tough job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    Peston's been quiet-ish for a while. Has he been back on the Murdoch case?


    Next 'pick'?


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