July 09 - Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker has flatly denied that any minister or senior official in the former Labour administration asked him to ''lean on'' Barclays to lower its Libor submissions.
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Labour seized on his comments as proof that UK Finance minister George Osborne was wrong when he claimed last week that figures in Gordon Brown's inner circle were involved in putting pressure on the bank. Mr Osborne's allegation led to a furious clash in the House of Commons on Thursday with shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who said he had been falsely accused of such behaviour "not on the basis of evidence but purely in the hope of political advantage". Mr Tucker today told the Commons Treasury Committee that he had spoken about the Libor rate in 2008 with the then Downing Street chief of staff Sir Jeremy Heywood, his predecessor as Number 10 chief of staff Tom Scholar, then Downing Street adviser Sir Jon Cunliffe and Treasury permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson. These were the "senior Whitehall figures" mentioned in former Barclays boss Bob Diamond's note of his phone conversation with Mr Tucker in October 2008. But in a key exchange with committee member and Labour MP Pat McFadden, he denied that either they or Government ministers had encouraged him to put pressure on Barclays.