Banking Bill reaches home straight

We're now approaching the endgame for the Banking Bill - with the government's final amendments, to be dropped into the legislative blender at next week's Lords third reading, now published.

At first glance it looks as if the Parliamentary Commission on Banking have played a blinder and got almost all their major recommendations into law - last week's votes at report stage were, as I've blogged previously, just the tip of a negotiating iceberg.

The latest amendments, in the name of the Treasury Minister, Lord Deighton, make flesh the promises the government made to peers in earlier debates.

On such arcana as proprietary trading - in effect banning "utility banks" from playing the markets on their own behalf, and certification and rules of conduct for bankers in key posts, the small print will require detailed scrutiny, but the bill has certainly morphed into something quite different, and closer to the Banking Commission's design than to George Osborne's.

I wonder if Archbishop Welby, who's leading a debate in the Lords later today (Thursday) might allow a hint of triumphalism to creep in?

One immediate lesson is that the creation of a commission composed of parliamentarians rather than outside figures means that there is automatically a powerful lobby in favour of whatever said commission recommends.

Which may be why we won't see another such commission for quite a while… even though senior MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee continue to press for one on the future of the Civil Service.

The last rites remain to be completed.

Peers will debate the latest changes at third reading on Monday, and the Commons will consider the vast number of changes made in the Lords on Wednesday…

But the only remaining cause for turbulence will be if the Banking Commissioners judge that some of the government amendments don't measure up to the promises made by ministers.