Page last updated at 01:42 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 02:42 UK

UK banking bosses 'should resign'

John Maples
Mr Maples said major banks in Britain had "got away with no resignations"

A senior Conservative MP has called on leading bankers responsible for the financial crisis to resign.

John Maples, a deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, told the BBC it was "unbelievable" not one banking boss had resigned or been fired.

However, the BBC's Robert Peston says the beleaguered chief executive of RBS, Sir Fred Goodwin, may soon stand down.

In the US, where risky mortgages sparked the global financial crisis, several banking chiefs have been fired.

The interview with Mr Maples, Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, may indicate a toughening of the party's stance on the position of Britain's banking chiefs.

So far both Conservative and Labour MPs have limited their demands to scaling back bank bonuses.

'Honourable thing'

The former Treasury minister told BBC Radio 4's The Week in Westminster the major banks in Britain had "got away with no resignations", despite the government's £500bn bail-out - half of which is a guarantee to banks.

"I just don't know how the banks have got away with no resignations and nobody being fired," he said.

(Sir Fred) Goodwin has told colleagues his priority is to raise the desirable new capital, and that he wouldn't stay in his job after that if shareholders wanted him to go
Robert Peston, BBC business editor

"In America people are being fired all over the place and here, the chairmen and chief executives of half a dozen banks really ought to do the honourable thing and resign."

Mr Maples' comments echo Liberal Democrats' demands for more aggressive action against British banking bosses.

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has said: "People who have run their banks into the ground should be removed.

"There has to be a clear-out of failed executives."

'Systemic meltdown'

Unlike the US, where bail-outs of lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and insurer AIG saw the chief executives removed, no UK banking boss has been ousted in this financial crisis.

Adam Applegarth stood down as chief executive at Northern Rock last year after the bank was nationalised.

However the BBC's business editor Robert Peston said Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, had "let it be known" that he will stand down if necessary to secure a rescue capital injection for the bank.

"Goodwin has told colleagues his priority is to raise the desirable new capital, and that he wouldn't stay in his job after that if shareholders wanted him to go," our correspondent wrote in his blog on Saturday.

"That's his coded way of saying he's off, possibly as soon as Monday - and he'll be replaced by the former Abbey finance director, Stephen Hester."

After a week of turmoil on the global financial markets, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the world financial market is teetering on the "brink of systemic meltdown".

Dominique Strauss-Kahn spoke after talks with US President George W Bush, G7 finance ministers and the World Bank in Washington on Saturday.

The meeting came a day after Asian, European and US markets continued to panic sell despite rate cuts and cash injections by central banks, amid widespread fears of a global recession.




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