Sunday, 2 November 2008

Who's A Naughty Boy Then?

"SCOTTISH SECRETARY Jim Murphy was last night under pressure to resign after he leaked sensitive financial information about a fresh bid for the troubled bank HBOS. Murphy confirmed to journalists on Friday evening that he had been involved in discussions with Jim Spowart, the Fife financier, about an alternative to a proposed takeover by Lloyds TSB. Spowart, who had wanted the discussions to be secret, is furious Murphy confirmed the pair had been talking before a bid had crystallised. Earlier on Friday, Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, gave his approval for the deal with Lloyds in spite of warnings from the Office of Fair Trading that the merged superbank would stifle competition for high street and business banking. Opposition parties accused Murphy of confirming the alternative bid in order to nip it in the bud and allow the government to press ahead with its preferred takeover by Lloyds."

It is critical that public officials observe confidences as part of their government duties. But Mr Murphy won't resign. And surely the bigger issue anyway is that if there are backers for an alternative to the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB then they should get on with it and table the proposal. Talk is cheap when so many Scottish jobs are at stake.

No comments: