PMQs and Bob Diamond evidence as-it-happened

Bob Diamond faces the music today.
Bob Damond faces the music today.i
Ian Dunt By

09:21 - Good morning, and already things are a bit of a mess. George Osborne's promised investigation into the Libor scandal is falling apart. John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee interviewing Bob Diamond today, has just been on the news attacking the chancellor's decision to set up a joint parliamentary committee to pursue the Libor investigation. He wants members of parliament to choose the members of the committee, as they do for select committees like the one he sits on, rather than the party whips. That comes after Treasury committee chairman Andrew Tyrie - who is supposed to be chairing the joint committee too - said he wouldn't do it if there was a vote, which there will be. He's always seemed reluctant. Now he seems resistant. There'll be plenty more drama before the day is out. In the next few minutes I'll summarise where we stand with the scandal as simply and briefly as I can, just in case you need a refresher course. Then I'll bring you some of the best writing about what's happening from across the web, including an assessment of where the national newspapers stand. Then its PMQs at 12:00 BST, where Ed Miliband will try to press home his advantage. And Diamond appears before the Treasury committee at 14:00 BST, probably for about two hours.

09:39 - OK, so here's your relatively painless, five minute summary. Barclays were found to have manipulated Libor, the interest rate governing how banks lend to each other. Everyone accepts this happened. Barclays insists that all the banks were doing it, particularly during the financial crisis in 2008. It also argues that it informed the authorities of this and nothing was done. Quite the opposite, in fact. A phone call took place between Paul Tucker, deputy governor of the Bank of England, and Diamond on October 29th, 2008. Diamond then had a chat with Jerry del Missier, the chief executive who quit yesterday. De Missier then concluded that the Bank of England wanted Barclay's Libor results reduced to reduce panic over its liquidity. There are also allegations that figures in government pushed Barclays to lowball the Libor results. That could have been Ed Balls, former Treasury minister and loyal Brownite, or Baroness Vadera, a former banker and Gordon Brown confidant. Or it could have been Mervyn King himself. Or it could have been no-one. So Barclays' counter-attack is three-fold: One, highlight that other banks were doing it. Two, insist the Bank of England forced them to do it. Three, smear everyone. None of this, by the way, changes the fact that its traders had previously beefed up its Libor results to increase their bonuses.

09:47 - The political response to the scandal has been explosive. The government has responded by setting up two investigations. The first is a joint parliamentary inquiry headed by Treasury committee chair Tyrie. The second is by Martin Wheatley, chief executive designate of the Financial Conduct Authority, who will investigate governance of the Libor interest rate. Labour wants an independent, judge-led inquiry and has promised to vote against the parliamentary inquiry. Tyrie has said he won't chair it if there's a vote. So probably it will fall apart, but that doesn't necessarily mean Labour will win its independent inquiry. And if it does, it could be a mistake - party-politically that is. Most of the material covered in a Leveson-style inquiry will cover Labour's time in power. The Tories might have been calling for less regulation, but Labour was busy scrapping it. It'll be a bruising year of headlines.

09:52 - As for Diamond's performance, we do have some idea how he will conduct himself. The last time he was around he said the time for apologies from bankers was over. It was regrettable and misjudged at the time. Now it seems appalling. He also revealed his weaknesses. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna tried to be forensic when taking him on and didn't quite succeed. It's hard to take on an expert at their own game. Mann, however, just asked him if he knew the Biblical quote about it being easier for camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. It appeared to deeply unsettle Diamond. Of course, we want details and concrete information about who told what to whom. But the theatre of parliament is important - it brings the elites down to earth. And hopefully we will see some of that today.

10:08 - If I was Diamond I'd be feeling nervous. Everyone's got their knife it, giving it a bit of an old sharpening. Mann just said the talk of a phone call from the Bank of England is a distraction. Diamond won't get away with "creating a smokescreen", he added. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is questioning his pay off. "I think people will ask themselves, why is it he is being handsomely rewarded, having presided over some serious wrongdoing?" he said earlier.

10:49 - Couple of bits of news. Firstly, the Treasury committee is expected to call Mervyn King and Paul Tucker next week. This thing could go and go. There's really no way they could avoid it, given the accusations which are likely to fly thick and fast this afternoon. Secondly, it looks like Osborne is in trouble for wrongly naming two banks - HSBC and Citigroup - as being under investigation for the Libor scandal.

10:54 - "At no point did I have any conversation with Mr Tucker at all," Ed Balls just told the BBC. He says he never heard any concerns about the Libor either. "It's the nature of politics, you deal with these things, but the idea I should be nervous this afternoon is completely false and untrue. Why are government ministers so worried about having an independent inquiry?"

10:56 - The online world is obviously abuzz with comment and analysis of the Libor story. Over at the FT, Philip Stephens says the government needs to go further than just ring-fencing investment and retail sections of banks. "The government itself has still to grasp fully how much things must change," he wrote. "It is pushing through parliament a half-baked scheme that would in future “ring-fence” the investment banking operations of the banks from their high-street banking operations. This misses the central point: it is the culture of the casino that has done the damage, and it will continue to infect the whole of the banking industry for as long as the two sets of operations operate together."

11:01 - In the pages of the Guardian (where else) Seumas Milne calls for the nationalisation of the banking industry. "Only if the largest banks are broken up, the part-nationalised outfits turned into genuine public investment banks, and new socially owned and regional banks encouraged can finance be made to work for society, rather than the other way round," he wrote. "Private sector banking has spectacularly failed – and we need a democratic public solution."

11:03 - In a charming parallel, the Telegraph's Allister Heath calls for more capitalism in banks. It's almost as if everyone was seizing on current events to substantiate their pre-existing views. "The ailment has been fundamentally misdiagnosed: banking has become a ward of the state, a cosseted, subsidised industry with captive consumers, and it is that which has crippled it," he writes. "We have been there before, in other sectors, and the medicine is always the same. This may come as a shock, but we need more capitalism in banking, not less."

11:06 - Over at the Mail, which has taken an interesting stance on events, Ian Birrell backs Miliband's demands for a full judicial inquiry. "This latest financial scandal highlights the emerging confidence of Mr Miliband, who has caught the public mood on corporate malfeasance and is playing hardball over insisting on a judicial inquiry, and the Coalition’s post-budget lack of direction," he writes. "It also raises issues over the uncomfortably close relationship between financiers and politicians. It is one I saw on election night as Mr Cameron’s speechwriter, watching brash millionaires in bespoke suits toast Tory victories with champagne at a celebration bash for party funders."

11:15 - The Mal has ended up in a strange corner of the debate by backing the public inquiry. Its allies are the Independent, the Guardian and the Mirror - although plenty in the Mirror think it's 'sadomasochism' of Miliband to demand it. Most other papers would prefer a parliamentary inquiry - short, sharp, quick. OK, I'll take a short break now so I can stuff my face with food ahead of what will be a busy afternoon. PMQs kickoff is at 12:00 BST.

11:56 - Northern Ireland questions are just winding down. We'll be off in a minute.

11:57 - Nick Smith (Lab, chinless) speaks out about vigilantes in Northern Ireland. John Bercow chastises MPs for being too rowdy. There'll be more of that before the day is done. Cameron has arrived, as has Clegg. Neither of them look happy. Neither look like they remember what it's like to be happy.

12:00 - And we're off.

12:01 - Osborne, to Cameron's left, looks stressed and pensive. Fiona O'Donnell (Lab, strident) asks about food prizes. She wants the PM to "spare me the lecture" and tell us what he's doing about food inflation. She delivered that well, blocking his exits. Cameron says inflation is falling. Something about the tone of the House makes me feel this session is going to be a bloody. Nicholas Soames (Con, wardrobe with a tiny key still inside) wants "proportionate" reforms to banking which won't damage the City of London. Cameron is careful in his response, saying changes need to be "tougher".

12:04 - Miliband is up.

12:05 - He recaps the banking scandal. "How can he convince people a parliamentary inquiry is a better way of restoring people's confidence," Miliband says. Cameron is defensive. "On the substance of the issue there is no disagreement between us," he replies, seemingly on the back foot. He says people want "rapid action" - the most important thing is that it's "swift and decisive".

12:06 - Miliband is moderate. He says he understands the concern about speed - but this is too narrow. He wants a two part judge led inquiry that reports on Libor by Christmas, while the second part takes longer and looks at culture and practices of the City. Interesting manoeuvre there. Cameron says he will look at the proposal, but then retreats to praising the Vickers report. He insists the inquiry is wider than he says - a point Tyrie has been contradicting for some time.

12:08 - Doesn't sound like Cameron will budge. Miliband says they were in the same position a year ago on Leveson, where he rejected and then changed his mind. Miliband asks why it's right to go judge-led for press, but not banks. Cameron suggests there is a "profound difference", in that Leveson followed a series of unsuccessful inquiries. "What's required is swift inquiry, swift legislation". Miliband: "I don't think the PM has understood the depths of public concern, the depths of lack of confidence."

12:10 - "I've listened to his concerns and I've proposed a way forward," Miliband continues. The exchange is controlled - barely, but it is controlled. Cameron repeats himself on splitting banks and scrapping tripartite. Osborne looks wary, Clegg disapproving. Cameron starts wagging his finger frantically. No party-politics from Cameron so far, apart from that tripartite comment. Miliband shakes his head. Cameron asks him to promise to cooperate with the parliamentary inquiry if the vote passes in the Commons. "I don't think the PM gets it," Miliband replies.

12:12 - Miliband says the government rejected complex derivates proposals after lobbying by banks. "Will he now U-turn and implement the Vickers recommendations in full," Miliband asks. Cameron says he "won't take lectures in 'getting it'". He repeats that he will implement VIckers. Complex derivatives will be in investment, not retail arms, he adds. "But if he wants a quick resolution to this he must accept the outcome of a vote in the Commons." Miliband: "If he wants a history lesson" he can be reminded of a 2008 speech in which he said "the problem of the last decade is too much regulation". The Commons erupts in noise. Miliband: "Doesn't that say it all about the double standards of this PM. Whenever these scandals happen, he is too slow to act and it's in the interests of the wrong people. If he fails to order a judge-led inquiry, people will come to one conclusion - he simply can't act in the national interest."

12:15 - Cameron: "Everyone can see what is happening here. The party opposite want to talk about absolutely everything but their record. We may have found the Higgs Bosun particle, Labour hasn't found its sense of shame." Good end from Cameron but Labour are euphoric. Clear victory for Miliband there. Miliband: 4 Cameron: 2.

12:17 - Strange really that Cameron didn't go for a Balls quote at the end of that. There must have been plenty to go for. More Tories stand up to attack Labour record on the banks, as Balls shakes his head. Anas Sarwar (Lab, dutiful) issues his planted question demanding a full judge-led inquiry. Cameron issues the standard defence. James Wharton (Con, prefect) commends the emergency services who tackled flooding. Cameron issues his stock response about the "coming together of communities".

12:22 - Excellent from a Labour MP: On the EU, is it "the policy of the prime minister to be indecisive or is he not sure"? I wish I could tell you which MP that was but I didn't catch it. Cameron retorts that "I don't have any idea what his party's policy is". Graham Stronger (Lab, old school) says the EU destroys jobs. When will the PM stop dithering and allow a referendum? Cameron says we repatriated power by getting out the bail-out the last government got us into. David Moris (Con, dressed fashionably for the 1970s) asks about a road safety matter which he admits is for the country council.

12:25 - Jon Ashworth (Lab, pre-make up Adams Family actor) says credit easing isn't working. Cameron says it is. Peter Tapsell (Con, Commons architecture) says that if bank execs have to resign and boards don't act properly, then the "delinquents" must not be able to walk away with bonuses and severance packages. Cameron says that would be "inexplicable to the British public". He says he will legislate as all pay deals are put to shareholders in a vote. Michael Meacher (lab, fading fast) asks about capital gains tax, and is promptly swatted away. Duncan Hames (LD, something discomforting about his shoulders and face) promotes a campaign about education in the third world.

12:28 - Nigel Dodds (DUP, allowed to ask a question every week) asks about banking in Northern Ireland. Margot James (Con, Lumley-level seductive) asks about women's rights in Afghanistan. Cameron says in 2001 less than a million children attended schools - none of the girls. Now there are six million, two million of whom are girls. He says there should be conditions to aid.

12:30 - Cameron is again asked if the vote on the inquiry decision will be a free vote. Cameron effectively says no by saying Labour whipped its peers in the Lords last night. He again asks Miliband to accept the result of the vote (which Labour will definitely lose). "People will take a very dim of an opposition party which stands in the way of an inquiry because they don't want their dirty washing done in public," the PM shouts. As an attack it has no truth to it - an independent inquiry would be more damaging to Labour. But the fact Cameron seized on it and attacked so robustly suggests he is kicking himself about his earlier performance.

12:33 - And we're done here. Andrew Lansley is about to make a statement, which is as close to an invitation to stop watching as anything I ever heard. Well it was a strong Miliband win in two respects. Firstly, by proposing an alternative inquiry which negates the government's arguments he appears statesmanlike and in control of where the debate is going. Secondly, Cameron put in a mediocre performance when he needed his A-game. The idea that he didn't have an embarrassing Balls quote to fire back is unthinkable. Perhaps he has become weary of the party-political approach Osborne has been adopting. Either way, it lost him vital points. There's still no way of knowing which way the inquiry debate will turn out - it's total loggerheads at the moment - but Miliband has maintained his lead for the time being.

13:53 - Tucker is doing a Jeremy Hunt and acting very keen about the idea of appearing at the Treasury select committee. There's good reason to. the sign from Mps is that they're more sympathetic to his account than that of Barclays. He just put out this statement: "Paul Tucker has made a request to attend a hearing with the Treasury select committee as soon as possible following the publication of settlement agreements by Barclays with the Financial Services Authority, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and The United States Department of Justice in relation to the attempted manipulation of LIBOR and EURIBOR. Mr Tucker is keen to give evidence to the committee in order to clarify the position with regard to the events involving the Bank of England, including the telephone conversation with Bob Diamond on 29 October 2008."

13:56 - Shriti Vadera has also repeated her denial that she put pressure from Downing Street for Barclays to reduce its results. She told Radio 4's World at One that she never spoke to Tucker and that Downing Street was more concerned about the gap between the Bank of England interest rate and Libor at the time. These sorts of categorical denials - the ones we've seen from her and Balls for instance - are rare from politicians. if they've done something they tend to muddy the sentences to give themselves a get out. My hunch right now is that they are genuine and Barclays is in dodgy territory.

14:02 - it's a bit late. in the meantime the Bank of England (let's shorten it to BofE for this blog) say they do have a record of that phone call Barclays referred to but aren't going to release it. Interesting. Doesn't exactly substantiate my hunch. Stuck between politicians and bankers: not an easy place to establish trust.

14:06 - And now Barclays say they have a recording of the call. This is getting sexy.

14:07 - Apologies - turns out the BofE doesn't have it - just Barclays. I used an online blogger for that info who's usually reliable but slipped up a bit.

14:11 - We're pretty late now. I'm not sure if our correspondent made it in. If so, he'll send us updates from inside the room. it was, as you can imagine, quite the queue of hacks outside that room. Aha - Bob Diamond has arrived.

14:13 - Turns out he did make it in. Diamond pours himself some water. he has a very extensive entourage. "I love Barclays, I love Barclays because of the people," he says.

14:14 - The focus has been on Barclays because it was first, he goes on. He worries people think the bank is "reprehensible" but it doesn't reflect a firm he "loves so much". Ah, Americans. "Clearly there were mistakes, but as soon as this was recognised" the bank took steps to deal with it. The watchdogs have praised Barclays for its diligence in getting to the bottom of this thing. "The attitude of Barclays was 'let's get to the bottom of this'"

14:16 - He resigned because questions about his leadership became part of the public view of the bank. He cuts a confident, eloquent figure, commendably lacking in corporate jargon. "We need to get through this period and the best way to do that was for me to step down," he says. Tyrie asks why he changed his mind about resigning. Was it pressure from regulators? Diamond: "It was clear to me that support [from regulators] was not strong." Tyrie asks if someone called Aegis (who resigned Monday and returned Tuesday. Did Agius mention this to him? He says the committee should ask him but Tyrie says that he is asking him. Bit of tension there - Diamond flicks an eyebrow up. he fudges the answer. Tyrie asks why he is reluctant to tell him what happened with the regulators. "Chairman, it's as simple as if Marcus [Agius] had conversations with regulators that's for him to have with you."

14:20 - Quite the sneer on Tyrie. this could be bruising for Diamond. Diamond says he had never heard the Financial Services Authority (FSA) had questioned his leadership. he has already drank a whole glass of water. Tyrie says that in February 2012 the FSA expressed concerns to the board. What was said? "The context of the discussion when it got to controls - the focus and the tone at the top they were specifically unhappy with. Tyrie: "Didn't they tell you trust had broken down between the FSA and Barclays?" Diamond: "I don't recall that." Tyrie: "Didn't they tell you confidence had broken down?" Diamond: "No, sir. There was an overall discussion on culture."

14:24 - There were a series of disagreements, Diamond admits. "This will all come out in the wash," Tyrie says threateningly. And now Sky are reporting Barclays does not have the phone recording. What on earth is going on? It really is ridiculous how big Diamond's entourage is. About nine men sitting gravel faced behind him, flanked by every sketch writer in parliament.

14:28 - Tyrie addresses the decision to lower Libor (in 2008). he turns to the Tucker issue. Do you usually note down calls. He says yes. He had frequent contact with regulators during this period. How many were file-noted roughly? Diamond: "Maybe a few." Tyrie: "A handful?" Diamond nods. So the fact you took a file is important? Diamond accepts that. What did you take from the use of the phrase 'Whitehall'? Diamond: "That was the core of the reason I dictated that note and communicated to John right away."

14:30 - Tyrie stops him from going off topic. Diamond smiles nervously and says sorry. In the context of the discussion during the peak of the financial crisis... Tyrie stops him. He has the answer he wants - that Diamond thought it came from government. Tucker thought their Libor rates could be relatively lower, Tyrie suggests. Why then did he not believe he recieved an instruction. "What was it," Tyrie adds, "a nod and a wink?" Diamond: "If members of the government were told our rates were high relative to others and took that to mean we couldn't fund - and in fact we were funding well - and it was clear a number of firms posting had emergency loans or were being nationalised and we were posting highest level, we would question whether other institutions could get funds... the implication..." Tyrie interrupts, reading from the Barclays statement quoting Tucker. This is tense and a little confusing. They keep working at cross purposes.

14:33 - Diamond says Barclays was top of the post of Libor 100% of the day. He says Barclays couldn't have been lowering given that was the case. "We know others were up to this game Diamond if you could get to the point," Tyrie says. Tyrie says he doesn't think he received instruction "even though it reads that way to everyone". He asks if he was monitoring Libor. Diamond says he was aware but he wasn't the key person - something Tyrie never says. "You will have noticed it fell the day you sent that email." Diamond says newspaper reports say it fell, but throughout November Barclays was second, third or fourth highest. What Tyrie is referring to was that following fundraising levels of Libor fell across the market. Tyrie says he understands the difference between their relative rating and the general Libor result. Jesse Norman MP starts questioning.

14:37 - The Tory asks how long Diamond was in debt markets before he arrived at Barclays. Since 1981 - so that's 17 years. Norman asks more about his career. Diamond says he was too old for derivatives really, and spent most of his career in the cash markets. Norman: And bond markets? Diamond says yes, mostly US Treasuries, European government etc. So when Diamond arrived he had been living and breathing debt capital markets? He was trying to use his ideas and experience in Barclays, he says. You can see where Norman is going but it's a shame Tyrie wasn't able to get more on his wink and a nod angle.

14:41 - Online, political journalists are somewhat incensed at the committee moving on from the BofE/govt phone call. Norman continues to ask so-far harmless questions about his management style and CV. Diamond seems noticeably more comfortable. Was the Bank of England too slow to address the financial crisis? Diamond says no. He says that he was proud of how Barclays raised capital privately. They establish that they are talking at cross purposes (again) and that he wants to know about the BofE. "The Fed took the lead," he says.

14:45 - Diamond calls Norman 'Jesse'. It sounds dreadful. Norman is doing himself a real disservice. We are seeing a repeat of the problems at the media committee - where MPs pursue their own agenda. The questioning is not forensic or structured. no team work. Michael Fallon is on. He will be much better. He wanted Tyrie job and has something to prove.

14:48 - He goes right back to the meat of it. Who was the person being referred to in Whitehall? Diamond says he doesn't know. Fallon quotes Vadera says Libor was a concern. Prior to the Tucker call did he chat with ministers or officials. He says Vadera was heavily involved. "John was the CEO - he was doing most of the communication but often Vadera wanted to see me as well," Diamond says. Fallon says there were discussion immediately prior then. Diamond says he doesn't know if they were immediately prior. "We weren't being recapitalised... sorry, I can give a better answer. At that time it was being primarily driven by john, so I heard about the meetings."

14:51 - Was he surprised by the Tucker call. Diamond says he appreciated it. The message was ministers were concerned by why it was so high, it gave the impression of funding problems. It mean that 'John' had to go to Whitehall to assure them. "This was a momentous week in history of Barclays." Fallon says he was being told to fiddle the submission. "I don't believe that, no," Diamond says."You will see in that note to the file I said 'did you explain to minister the real story which is that other banks are posting rates below ours. It's not that our rates are wrong, it's that other banks.... we had banks with secret loans, we had banks that were being nationalised, there were a number of banks posting levels significantly below ours which didn't seem to us to be right."

14:55 - How did Jerry del Missier misunderstand the message then? Diamond says it was wrong, cites pressure on Libor centres, but adds it didn't change the Libor rate, just their submission. Fallon understands but says that's not the question, which it plainly isn't. "Michael, with apologies I can't put myself in Jerry's shoes," Diamond says. the FSA cleared Missier. Fallon turns to the Department of Justice. They wanted Barclays to post honest rates without standing out. It could be done if other banks posted honest rates. Was he aware these discussions were taking place?

14:58 - Diamond says he didn't know employees were having this discussion with regulators. "Should you not have been aware of that?" Diamond says he wants to see the precise section. He doesn't answer, but Fallon lets him get away with it. Tyrie doesn't. He asks what it says about management culture that he didn't know. What was wrong with Barclays that something so important was not reported up? Tyrie asks again. Diamond fudges and Tyrie coldly replies: "I think you've answered the question."

15:02 - David Ruffley is now asking the questions. He is very tough. When did he discover the 'lowballing'? Diamond fudges. What month did he discover? Diamond: "This month." Ruffley: "Why on earth did you as chief exec not know this was going on?" Diamond says he needs to put it in context. "These are important questions and it's important not to rush through them." Ruffley stops him: "With respect you've made that point several times. The FSA said it was still a breach of principle 5. You accept that don't you?" Ruffley quite impressive here.

15:06 - "What did you discuss with Messier after the Tucker message?" Diamond: "Discussion about the contents of the note. I was unaware Jerry had the impression the conversation I had was an instruction." Ruffley asks if he believes in criminal options for negligent bosses of banks. "Given you were talking about culture and you've had quite a lot to say about the role of banking in our society, do you think it should include a more punitive regime?" Diamond: "People who do things they are not supposed to do would be dealt with harshly. They should go through due process. David, when got the results of this investigation, when I read the emails from those traders I got physically ill."

15:10 - "I am angry. There is no excuse. This was wrong and I'm not happy about it. But we put all the resources we could to make sure it was dealt with. This doesn't represent the Barclays I know and love. Barclays got on top of it. There was no limit on funds which could be invested in this investigation." Ruffley says Osborne said his resignation was the right decision for the country. Diamond says he wasn't aware of that, but it was the right choice for the country.

15:12 - Tyrie goes back to the file note. Does he understand their scepticism that there was such lack of understanding given they talked every day. George Mudie takes over questioning.

15:13 - In the mean time, Osborne has launched an extraordinary attack on Ed Balls. Here he is in the Spectator. "As for the role of the Labour government and the people around Gordon Brown, well I think there are questions to be asked of them. They were clearly involved and we just haven’t heard the full facts, I don’t think, of who knew what when. …my opposite number, who was the city minister for part of this period and Gordon Brown’s right hand man for all of it so he has questions to answer as well."

15:14 - Osborne's attack seems unwise given Diamond is not in the business of naming names right now. Also, it makes the government attempt to have a parliamentary inquiry seem even more open to party-political infighting. Although, to be fair, Miliband's demand for a judge-led inquiry has been hugely strengthened by the quality of the interrogation here today.

15:16 - "What kind of firm were you running?" Mudie asks. Fudged response. If that's frustrating to read, imagine how irritating it is to watch. Diamond is not winning much support from MPs here and his tactic to use their first name is not helping either. He has gone through about 38 glasses of water. "You've now had three years to find out who the hell were these senior management?" Diamond: "People from the senior Treasury."

15:19 - Mudie again asks what kind of organisation this is. Why didn't someone tell Diamond they had been manipulating Libor for 18 months by the time he chatted to Tucker in 2008. Diamond: "The behaviour was wrong..." Mudie ignores him, with considerable disrespect. "This was in the public interest," he says, sarcastically. "This was to avoid nationalisation."

15:22 - Diamond is starting to drown completely here. MPs are very publically expressing their irritation with him. Tyrie: "One wonders how much there has to be in the firm about it before, in your words, it comes out - when you have derivative traders shouting out across the floor. Doesn't that say something about the culture in Barclays." Diamond: "The fact supervisors didn't mention it is wrong. I agree."

15:25 - Andrea Leadsom starts questioning. "Do you live in a parallel universe to the rest of the UK," she asks. He calls her Andrea three times in response. She asks if he attended morning meetings. No. Were minutes taken? He thinks no, because it was done over the intercom. "This did not get above desk supervisor level until we uncovered it and then we uncovered it," Diamond says. Would a desk supervisor know falsifying Libor was an offence? "Of course," Diamond says. "So they were complicit?" Diamond: "In some cases they were aware in other cases they were not."

15:30 - Again Barclays tries to say how much he loved Barclays. It's extraordinarily tiresome. What should desk supervisers have done the Mp asks, what was the procedure, they should have followed? Can he point to it. He says its compliance and to their boss. There was a requirement for that? Diamond: "Of course." He says it should have gone through compliance, again. By the way, Leadsom is a former Barclays banker, so she has some idea what this situation would look like. I know how that sounds, but she is doing very well here and adopting an approach which is at least somewhat forensic.

15:33 - She asks which others areas of the bank he has looked at where there might have been fraud. Diamond hedges again. She discusses gilt markets. "What I'm asking is in light of fact your audit failed to notice there was open fraud in front of your noses have you now looked at other areas of the bank?" Diamond says yes. So this couldn't happen again? Diamond: "The way to do that is to start going through our process and controls and audit reports."

15:38 - Andrew Love now takes over and starts asking more general questions about culture at the bank. He is really quite dreadful.

15:42 - Diamond insists he hasn't read the papers much lately, despite earlier trying to correct press reports. Mercifully, Love ends his tepid questioning.

15:45 - Mark Garnier is now doing the questioning and, again, he is not very good. He even praises his performance at Barclays, to which Diamond replies Mark Garnier "just looking for some love" - surely a pun there. Diamond says he runs a 'no jerk rule' at Barclays. Ahem.

15:49 - After sustained questioning Garnier's climax is: "Why didn't those guys report it." It's dreary and tiresome but Garnier is clearly enjoying his time in the spotlight.

15:57 - Diamond says the rate setters were some of their senior staff. He refuses to say that regulators didn't do enough though. "I'm not going to blame this on someone else," he says, admirably. That is the key sentence of his testimony, politically. He did not, as we were expecting, come here throwing muck at all and sundry (a la James Murdoch). By doing so he plays into Labour's hands and makes Osborne's Spectator intervention look less and less wise.

16:03 - Diamond says his conversation with Tucker was not recorded, to his knowledge. He also reveals Barclays spent £100m investigating the Libor affair. Meanwhile it's all gone a little bit sex pun. Teresa Pearce, who has been aimlessly asking terrible questions for some time now, just stopped herself giggling when she said "you're a career...banker". Diamond again tries to tell MPs that Barclays is an amazing place. Tyrie stops him, saying they've heard it. The sketch writers behind him start laughing, but his entourage remain stony-faced. Tyrie: "No-one at all was watching the trading desk so you'll forgive us for thinking there is something more widely wrong with the culture."

16:13 - Pat McFadden says investment bank culture encouraged risk taking and sit uneasily with what public wants - mortgages, looking after savings etc. Diamond says it's a fair question but he challenges it obviously. McFadden goes back to yesterday's memo. He cites the FSA report, citing downballing a year before the Tucker call. Seven months before the call, the report suggests this was happening again "because the honest truth would be a can of worms". "Do you accept that facts I've just read out?" Diamond: "Can I put some context on it?" Diamond again cites how Barclays was on the high end of submission. McFadden tries to intervene, but Diamond presses ahead. McFadden: "Why did you release this document about the Tucker call yesterday, given you've acknowledged it was going on a year before?" Diamond says he didn't, it came from Barclays. McFadden: "The point I'm making is how significant is this phone call given the pattern shown by the FSA report?"

16:22 - The call was important because it gave a heads up about the concerns in Whitehall. John Mann comes in hard and fast - saying honesty, integrity and plain dealing are the principles of the Quakers who set up Barclays. "I can tattoo them on your knuckles if you like," he says. Diamond looks uncomfortable.

16:25 - Tellingly, Diamond doesn't call him John. "Even those who refused to act improperly didn't come to you," Mann points out. "It does appear strange to the outside world. People are asked to act criminally but they don't report that to the senior management. That does look incredulous to the outside world. You seem to see nothing, know nothing, hear nothing in that three year period."

16:28 - Diamond says he has conflated two separate issues. The trader submissions were not part of the Wall Street Journal report. Mann says he's talking about the academic studies. People were suggesting impropriety from outside, but he wasn't investigating. "Either you were complicit in what was going on or you were grossly negligent or you were grossly incompetent. There is no other option".

16:31 - Diamond loosens his tie. "You're the man in charge, you;re the man who carries the can, you're the man who gets these bonuses. You accept the good side, the bonuses. You're the man in charge. You lose your job and you lose your shares. That's a pretty small price to pay. What are you going to do to put the record straight with your personal behaviour because you personally are responsible?" Diamond says personal culpability lies with the trader. "I'll offer you a little love," Mann says. "Your bonus each year is equivalent to the amount of money our largest homeless charity Shelter has to survive on. Why don't you make a proper gesture and convince your colleagues to do likewise. Then you might get a little love."

16:35 - John Thurso admits our problem. Diamond has been there for two and half hours and we know nothing really. Is Libor the disease or just a symptom? he asks, sensibly. he starts asking about the small business loans suggested by Barclays staff. "There is a quite considerable degree of activity which is at least questionable and in some cases unethical," Thurso says. Diamond says there are millions of transactions a day and he is picking specific examples.

16:40 - Thurso maps out how badly some of Barclays' clients were treated, in a bid to negotiate new margins. Small and medium sized businesses were told to buy products which tanked all to Barclays benefits. Diamond talks something about Uganda. Someone please stop him.

16:46 - Are you still there? Have you not gone mad? We're now on (I think, I pray) our last MP. Barclays closed 1.05p down at 166p - pretty much the same as when Diamond started, although there was a little volatility during the testimony.

16:50 - Between 2005-2008, he had no idea what was going on. "Barclays people were able to notice other people submitting rates that were patently wrong but no-one internally was able to identify even though people were shouting across floors," Diamond is told. "Do you see why we find that difficult to believe." MPs know what everyone else knows: The bosses sat down staff, said how much they wanted them to follow the rules, then made it clear their job was to find a way around those rules. They paid them handsomely when it worked out and distanced themselves from them when it went wrong.

16:55 - Did I mention that last MP was Stewart Hosie? If not, it was Stewart Hosie. He ends Fallon comes back for a quick question. He says what exactly did he think he was being asked to do after that October 2010 message. Good question. "He was pointing out the problem and I was pointing out the problem was not with Barclays." Fallon: "What did he want you to do?" Diamond: "I didn't take it as a directive. What I said was 'the reality is we at Barclays are posting at rates at which we borrow'." Tyrie says Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal was reporting it. Why not start an investigation?

16:57 - "I reaffirmed it in that note," Diamond says, inexplicably. Norman gets back in, clearly upset at fumbling the ball the first time. He asks why he wasn't aware of lowballing. Given there was evidence five months beforehand. "This wasn't just Barclays, you keep coming back to Barclays," Diamond says. Norman: "Well that's the institution you were working for." Diamond: "Jesse, can I finish?" Norman: "Sure." Diamond: "Are you sure?" Norman nods. Humiliating moment for the MP there.

17:01 - And my God we are still going. McFadden cites an FSA contact to Barclays about liquidity. Some of the information was about Libor. The submitter discussed this with manager D who stated 'I wouldn't go there for a moment, I would rather we left that at zero or something'." McFadden says that when the FSA asked about it Barclays lied to them. Diamond accepts everything in the report.

17:05 - Tyrie is summing up. He asks if Diamond wants to add anything. he repeats how firm and quick Barclays action was. "It's difficult for Barclays to be isolated on this. I know Barclays. If we have another situation going forward we'll still act the same way. But the impact of being first was that the reaction doesn't create great incentives. Tyrie says he recognises it has not been an easy hearing.

17:07 - Well that was tiring. OK, there will be news and sketch coming up in a moment, and check back here later tod discover that the typos have been cleared up and everything is in the right order. What conclusions can we draw? Not much. Osborne probably shot out too far with his Spectator attack, because Diamond didn't appear to be playing ball, although his use of 'ministers' rather than 'officials' later in the session (once Fallon had a go on him) saved the chancellor's bacon slightly. Other than that, this was a long lesson in making Miliband look right about a judge-led inquiry. Oh, and Andrea Leadsom made a pretty good case for getting shuffled onto the front bench - but she'll need to tackle that rebellious streak to get Cameron to choose her. Thanks for sticking around, see you next week for the last PMQs before summer break.


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