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Brown wants UK controls

Mark Mardell | 17:10 UK time, Thursday, 18 June 2009

Does the British government's argument about "no liability without responsibility" hold water on financial regulation?

I've been musing on this after Gordon Brown's news conference, where the prime minister told me off for asking two questions. It's the curse of these things: there's the question the newsdesk want asked on the story of the day (MPs' expenses) and the one dull types like me want to ask, on the summit itself.

Mr Brown said that while cross-border supervision was needed when "our money" was involved in bailing out a bank the decision had to be taken by a national regulator, as the cash comes from a national government (and taxpayers of course).

Sounds like common sense. But what's the implication? If it is more than not trusting foreigners to make sensible decisions, doesn't it imply that he wants national regulators who can be guided, leant on, persuaded to the view of ministers?

And would what Mr Brown wants really make any difference? In his scenario the new EU institution makes a judgment that a bank is in serious trouble, but it is up to the national regulator to make a decision about what happens. But wouldn't any judgment by the EU, unless kept secret, force a chain of events anyway that would put pressure on the bank and force the government to step in?


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