2. Want to Know A Secret?
This is not so much a secret, but it is something few people know about as a resource.
In Parliament, there are groups of MPs who hold investigations. There are investigations of most areas of government work. As you know, I specialise in banking litigation, so the area of Government I specialise in is treasury. I have submitted evidence to the Treasury Select Committee previously (I also did a very extensive submission, but due to other factors it was not submitted).
The Treasury Select Committee does extensive work. They have done some fantastic work since the collapse of the economy started in 2007. The investigations of banks has been amazing. Their look at competition in SME Banking last year was an amazing piece of work. They regularly take the City regulator - the Financial Conduct Authority - to task over, well, everything. In one day the FCA caused billions to be wiped off the share price of pension providers because they gave a bad press briefing. Their report into that affair was amazing. They also publish things that the FCA and banks try to hide.
I have learnt over the years that Select Committees often have some explosive documents, correspondence and investigations. There is usually so much of it that often times things simply do not get published in the media - some of it does though. They produce so many reports that no journalist can be expected to review all of them - so they just copy/paste the summaries that the committees provide. Why is this bad? It is because these reports often have some explosive testimony from people who are really involved in these areas. I love reading TSC reports, because the Chair - Andrew Tyrie MP - really is on the side of the truth. He and the remainder of the committee really do take everyone to task. On behalf of the public they absolutely strip bare the bones of everything done in public and private by the Government or Government agencies, and their names are rarely raised in public as being as important as they actually are.
So, why am I boring you with what I do for a job? Well, this year the Treasury Select Committee is undertaking a really, really important investigation. They are investigating: The economic and financial costs and benefits of UK's EU membership inquiry. This is so, so , so important. And I am absolutely positive that they will produce some unexpected and ground breaking evidence. They are a mix of Conservative and Labour, and having read their reports for years, I can absolutely tell you they offer no-one political favours when they are being questioned. For instance, watch them investigate the Chancellor, George Osborn.
You can see my page regarding the TSC Investigation HERE.
For the purposes of this blog, the most important thing about the Treasury Select Committee is that it is almost always shown on Parliament.TV. You can see the TSC undertake their first evidence taking session on the investigation into the costs of the UK's EU membership. You can watch it in Parliament TV or Read the Transcript.
And why is this important? Well, as you already know, the campaigns have started, and at the heart of the Stay campaign is that the whole world will go to hell in a handcart if the UK leaves the EU. One thing I always worry about is this statement that 3 million will lose their jobs if we leave the EU. Everyone on the panel basically said that is absolute balls. The evidence (on 28th October 2015) were:
Roger Bootle, Executive Chairman, Capital Economics,
Simon Tilford, Deputy Director, Centre for European Reform, and
Philippe Legrain, Senior Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics European Institute.
To my mind, the whole campaign for the Stay group will use massive scare tactics about how we will all be doomed if we leave the EU. I never believed the 3 million figure - but assumed (wrongly, it seems) that this figure has to have come from somewhere. It hasn't. They just made it up. And we know from the Scottish referendum that simply making up things to try and scare the shit out of voters is how the No campaign won the day. They will do this again. It is therefore vital that independent evidence is adduced when making claims. Evidence given to the TSC by experts who are not tied to one political outcome tend to make good and credible sources to quote. As you can see from this website - I personally do not think it is acceptable to make bold assertions without evidencing them.
You can find a page on my website dedicated just to the evidence given to the Treasury Select Committee on this issue.
 Treasury Select Committee: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/treasury-committee/
 Report into Competition In SME Lending: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmtreasy/204/204.pdf
 Report into FCA Press Briefing: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmtreasy/881/881.pdf
 See for instance the publishing of the agreement between the FSA (the regulator before the FCA) and the banks in the review into the sale of IRHPs: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/treasury/Pro_Forma_Agreement_and_Undertaking_(June%202012).pdf
 Andrew Tyrie MP - Conservative MP for Chichester: http://www.andrewtyrie.com/ & http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/mr-andrew-tyrie/112
 Committee members Including One SNP this year: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/membership/
 The economic and financial costs and benefits of UK's EU membership inquiry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2015/eu-membership-15-16/
 Treasury Select Committee takes evidence from Witnesses: Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury, and Charles Roxburgh, Director, Financial Services, HM Treasury http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/3b08456c-8ca6-4b59-afba-e28fe5920903
 Parliament TV of first evidence session: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b5e5fbde-28d5-401b-ab2d-0f1c22ff888c
 Treascript in PDF: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/treasury-committee/the-economic-and-financial-costs-and-benefits-of-uk-membership-of-the-eu/oral/23686.pdf
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