22/12/2009 - Yet another enquiry starts
The disciplinary arm of the Financial Reporting Council has launched an investigation into the actions of an unnamed Scottish qualified accountant involved with Equitable Life in the late 1990s. It’s the third investigation related to Equitable that the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board has begun in the past year. The board would not say what had led to the actions being initiated at this time.
The latest probe will look into "the provision . . . of information for use by the Financial Review Reporting Panel relating to the financial statements of Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1999..."
The first probe, launched a year ago, relates to work done by government actuaries around the same time, while the second, which was launched in October, is an actuarial investigation into certain audits of Equitable Life conducted by an individual.
The AADB is the independent investigative and disciplinary body for accountants and actuaries in the UK. It looks into misconduct, which may include acts and omissions.
Read More on the Financial Times website.
22/12/2009 - Sir John Chadwick issues a second Interim Report
On 16 December a second cerebral interim report was posted on Sir John’s website. It calls for further submissions in the light of his much expanded period of consideration that resulted from EMAG’s successful JR, to be made to him by 29 January.
Read the second Interim Report
Read the Sir John’s exchanges with the Treasury.
Read the Sir John’s exchanges with EMAG
A third Interim Report is expected in March and Sir John’s recommended scheme is expected to be presented to the next Government at the end of May.
14/12/2009 - Dr Tony Wright MP speaks out again for the PO
On 9 December the PASC committee published a report calling for two key reforms to the relationship between the Commons and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
First, the Committee calls for the long overdue abolition of the ‘MP filter’ so that citizens can have direct access to the Ombudsman.
Second, the Committee recommends that there should be an automatic debate in the House of Commons whenever the Ombudsman finds that the Government has failed to remedy injustice caused by maladministration.
The Chairman of the Committee, Dr Tony Wright MP, said:
"It is absurd that Parliament should have to rely on the Government to provide time to debate reports from its own Ombudsman, especially when, as in the case of Equitable Life, those reports are very critical of the Government. In these kinds of cases, Parliament needs to be seen to be acting independently of Government. As it is, people understandably find it hard to distinguish between the two."
Download PASC’s report 107
14/12/2009 - EMAG met Sir John Chadwick
On his return to the UK from dispensing justice in the Cayman Islands, five of EMAG’s board of directors, led by Colin Slater, met Sir John for the first time on Thursday 10 December. Colin Slater spelled out clearly at the start that EMAG continues to campaign to have the 'Chadwick Process' set aside to be replaced by the Independent Tribunal proposed by the PO but that the actuarial 'grunt work' has to proceed, analysing the data provided by the Society – being done by Towers Perrin. It seems that Sir John does not intend to publish the actuarial report, saying 'That’s for the Treasury'.
It is apparent that a further Interim Report from Sir John will be submitted to the Treasury by December 17 and it will ask for further submissions, in the light of his remit’s hugely expanded time frame - resulting from EMAG’s successful Judicial Review - to be made by the end of January. For reasons EMAG cannot agree, Sir John regards as extremely relevant the outcome of the appeal in the profession's case against Ernst & Young. EMAG does not. Sir John intends to produce an interim report by March and to finalise his scheme recommendations to the Treasury by the end of May.
27/11/2009 - The position pre-1991A number of EMAG members who started their annuities pre-July 1991 have contacted us seeking claification. EMAG is fighting for compensation for this group. Colin Slater has prepared a note on the position.
27/11/2009 - Revised TOR for Sir John Chadwick, finally
When the Judicial Review judgement was handed down, the Government was required to come back to Court on 18 November to show how it will accommodate the findings. But on 13 November EMAG was informed that there would be a delay by the Treasury and we were forced, reluctantly, to agree to a deferral until 2 December. Finally, on Thursday evening 26 November it was Sir John Chadwick who published Command paper 7762, containing his revised Terms of Reference (TOR). These replace his earlier ones, though they do not replace any of the other elements of the 15 January Command Paper 7538.
17/11/2009 - 4th November: A fantastic day!
The Westminster Hall rally of 400 EMAG members from right across the UK was a huge success. The six MPs were excellent speakers well received. The sun shone on the lunchtime demonstration. Honor Blackman was charm personified.
Read all the major press articles
See photos of the demonstration
Listen to Vince Cable's speech
Read a transcript of Vince Cable's speech
Listen to Tony Wright’s speech
Read a transcript of Tony Wright's speech
Listen to David Davis’s speech
Read a transcript of David Davis's speech
Read Paul Braithwaite’s introduction
Listen to R 4 Virginia Ironside 15 November
Honor Blackman, Vince Cable and Paul Braithwaite at the demonstration outside Parliament, 4 November, 2009
17/11/2009 - EMAG's policy strategy, looking forward
- To continue our campaign for proper compensation – and not charity handouts.
- To campaign for a Tribunal, as proposed by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, to take over from Sir John Chadwick as soon as possible e.g. on a change of Government.
- Any correspondence/contact with Sir John Chadwick will be on the basis that we are still campaigning for a proper compensation and the PO’s Tribunal.
- EMAG will set out our policy on compensation in our "EMAG’s Principles of Compensation for Equitable Life Sufferers". We will produce this shortly and distribute it to MPs and EMAG members...
- Lastly, EMAG needs to concentrate on co-ordination of the political campaign for the next six months.
17/11/2009 - EMAG’s 'Principles of Compensation'For several weeks the EMAG board has been developing a paper with accountants Burgess Hodgson. This defining Report will be sent to all MPs on the 'All-party group of MPs for Justice for Equitable Life policyholders' and to Sir John Chadwick.
16/11/2009 - Petitions presented to Parliament
On 4 November EMAG members personally presented many petitions to their MPs in the Commons. Here are a sample of those petitions recorded in Hansard for the following constituencies: Meriden (Caroline Spelman) Hendon (Andrew Dismore), Redbridge ( Lee Scott), Wantage (Ed Vaizey), Daventry (Tim Boswell).
16/11/2009 - A Saturday Guardian put-down
On 7 November Patrick Collinson, The Guardian’s Saturday Money section editor, wrote provocatively : "The others (i.e. non WPAs) were given a choice in 2000 to get out with a 10% cut in policy values. Those that didn’t take it want compensation galore instead. Are they really that deserving of taxpayers money?" Mr Collinson received a deluge of complaint letters and, to his credit, on 14 November, he published a well-worded rebuke from EMAG regional member, Howard Gleave.
16/11/2009 - Labour’s 'cookie cutter' letter
It’s pretty insulting when EMAG members personalletters get a Labour Party Central Office scripted letter that has no personal content whatsoever. Read the letter that’s been sent out.
The suggestion that Labour’s response will be quicker, when the minister has asked Sir John Chadwick to come up with a scheme design by the spring is disingenuous. Before replying, EMAG members should read a paper by EMAG director Nic Bellord that addresses Liam Bynre’s timing claims.
09/11/2009 - Mail on Sunday 8 Nov
This most influential newspaper masde up single-handedly for the lack of coverage elsewhere of the 4 November rally and demonstration. Jeff Prestridge’s editorial gave EMAG’s cause his unequivocal support.
Elsewhere in the same newspaper, Vince Cable wrote an equally compelling political piece.
28/10/2009 - The Chadwick Process and the JR
EMAG's successful Judicial Review result on 15 October required that Sir John Chadwick's remit be revised. On 20 October the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, issued a statement.
The desperately despressing key phrase in this pivotal new document is that it restates: "...the task remains the same, namely to advise the Government on those policyholders who have suffered disproportionate impact..."
So the government remains set against providiong com pensation for injustices.
The actual written instruction from the Treasury to Sir John has not as yet been published and EMAG's solicitors have asked for a copy. The government has been required by the Court to lodge a legal skeleton response to the JR by 5 November and a further hearing has been set for 18 November.
Sir John Chadwick had called for responses to his Interim Report by 27 October. Under the circumstances EMAG wrote on that date to Sir John saying that we will respond after the JR has been resolved and by 25 November. See EMAGs letter to Sir John Chadwick.
28/10/2009 - How MPs voted, compared to EDM 1423
EDM 1423 has now been signed by 343 MPs, 114 of whom are Labour.
Nevertheless, the majority of those Labour MPs obeyed their whips. See the list of the apparently compromised Labour MPs, many of whom claimed the excuse that the government's revised proposal will be faster. You might like to write to your MP if he or she is listed and tell them if this may influence whether you will be voting Labour in the general election.
Of course it's piffle that the Chadwick process will be quicker than the PO's which proposed the entire scheme be dispensed by the end of 2010. Chadwick's design is not asked for until 'the spring'! The government's tactic is to wait for the grim reaper to take his toll. 40,000 will have died before a penny is paid out.
28/10/2009 - The Commons debate 21 October
The Lib Dem Party dedicated one of their opposition day debates to Vince Cable's EDM 1423. EMAG's chairman and the general secretary attended and EMAG received many plaudits. The debate lasted more than three hours and about 40 MPs spoke.
It's well worth reading the whole debate, which started with a fine contribution by Vince Cable.
Sadly, the Treasury ministers Liam Byrne and Sarah McCarthy-Fry continued to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Their amendment motion disingenuously asserted that the Chadwick Process will be quicker than the PO's would have been – which is unlikely as all that was promised is the design of a scheme by the spring. Last year we saw that the government's promise of a response to the PO's Report 'by the autumn' delivered in mid Janiuary. The government has effectively dumped resolution of Equitable scandal on the next government. Just more of the same from this shameful lot.
Although only 50 or so MPs attended ANY part of the debate, when the division bell went, 500 more MPs miraculously appeared and trooped through the lobbies. Because of the three line whip the government saw off the motion with a majority of 25 votes. Eighteen admirable independent minded Labour MPs defied their party.
19/10/2009 - EMAG was the big winner in Court
The government has been refused permission to appeal and told to submit a written skeleton revised proposal by 5 November to replace the quashed key findings.
This is a very success for EMAG. Hundreds of thousands more policyholders are now eligible for some form of compensation and their relative losses are very much bigger. The PO's start date of July 1991 for eligibility of pension payments has been reinstated. Under the circumstances, EMAG will still not be making a submission to Sir John Chadwick. The board will review its position after 12 November.
Read some of the press coverage of 16 Oct.
Read EMAG's own Press Release.
Read the PO's statement.
Listen to Paul Braithwaite on Money Box.
Read the full Court Judgement.
Read Colin Slater's summary.
28/09/2009 - Lessons learned from Equitable
A long-time commentator on Equitable, Ian Cowie of the Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, has learned from Equitable Life:
"The Equitable Life debacle taught me never to keep too much of my pension in one place – and the news that Sipps suffer from inadequate statutory protection is another reminder."
Read Ian Cowie in Saturday's Telegraph
28/09/2009 - Some MPs still don't get it
Glenda Jackson is the sitting MP for Hampstead. She has hundreds of Equitable victims, many of whom have approached her for support. She wrote a cookie-cutter letter to them all, including this final para:
"In my view, the Government has both apologised and set in place the scheme for remedy, while in my view exercising its responsibility to future public policy and claims upon the public purse. I will refer your concerns to the relevant minister, however my position on the matter has not, and will not change."
See Glenda Jackson's letter
28/09/2009 - Will YOU join us on 4th November for a BIG rally and lobby of Parliament?
Past Equitable demonstrations have been small in scale and attracted just a few dozen supporters. This is the BIG one. A number of MPs have told us we need to do this to get attention and some have offered to join in themselves. We hope to have MPs speaking at the rally and we want you to encourage YOUR MP to join you in the crowd on the day.
We are going to walk the short distance from Central Hall Westminster to Parliament where we will display a stack of 15 real coffins with the slogan:
"Another 15 Equitable pensioners died today, waiting for justice"
We need volunteers to carry the coffins and many more to carry placards, wear tee shirts and give a show of strength that the Government cannot ignore. TV and press will be invited.
If you are able-bodied, do please sign up to take part. We need commitment to make this work.
Visit the registration page: www.emag.org.uk/demo
Once you have registered we will be in touch with full details. Places in Central Hall are strictly limited to 400 so advance registration is essential.
Shortly after the lobby of MPs in the House of Commons we will be holding EMAG's formal AGM in the lecture hall of Central Hall Westminster, back across Parliament Square, at 4.00pm which members are cordially invited to attend.
If you are affiliated to one of our EMAG Regional groups www.emagregional.org.uk you should be able to team up with others from your area to share a lift, hire a minibus or take the train together.
01/09/2009 - FSA - not fit for purpose?
The chairman of the FSA, Sir Adair Turner, has rounded on bankers and the City. This is how The Times on 29 August reported his outburst:
"Some of what the City did was 'socially useless', Lord Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, opined. This was provocative stuff coming from the FSA, which until recently acted more like a trade association for the City than an independent regulator. For years it has been the City's cheerleader on the international stage, turning a blind eye to wrongdoing and setting fines at flea-bite levels"
Most EMAG members have known for a very long time the FSA is the poodle of the industry. Most of the ghastly defects revealed in the last two years were manifest in the failed supervision of Equitable Life, which seems to have been a microcosm of all that was wrong with the FSA. It is simply appalling to think that it became self-policing in 2001, under the utterly incompetent regime of Sir Callum McCarthy and John Tiner. Where are they now? You couldn't make it up: McCarthy is an NED at the Treasury and Tiner is at the Clive Cowdrey's Resolution, currently gobbling up Friends Provident
The Tories have said that they will do away with Gordon Brown's 1997 creation, the FSA, and replace it with a strengthened Bank of England and a new Consumer Protection Agency (CPA). The FSA has never adequately fulfilled its consumer protection role. Investors have been repeatedly shafted for the greater good of confidence is the industry. We say 'Hooray' to its prospective passing.
01/09/2009 - Sir john Chadwick's interim report
On 18 August, the Treasury published on Sir John Chadwick's behalf, an interim report. Since Sir John has been very often engaged in Courts in three continents in the last three months, it is believed that he has been helped extensively in the drafting by Simor Bor, on secondment from the Treasury, and Australian barrister, Lawrence Emmett.
The report is extremely confusing – just take a look at page 15! In it, Sir John proposes a possible alternative flexible approach – not is-similar to EMAG's - which, on the face of it, is encouraging. But this is certainly outside the spirit Sir John Chadwick's remit under Command Paper 7538 (15 Jan 2009). Since Sir John is commissioned only to advise, the Treasury could simply ignore at will any final report incorporating a flexible approach as being outside his remit.
The report is full of bear-traps, with many inaccuracies and, whilst it is of course tempting to engage, both the EMAG Board and the PO are of the view that 'The Chadwick Process' is a deplorable Treasury fudging device to delay and hugely reduce the comprehensive compensation that should righfully flow for prudential regulatory failuresdefined in the PO's report. The office of the PO confirmed to EMAG as recently as 27 August that it is not engaging in 'The Chadwick Process'.
In EMAG's letter to Sir John (17 July), we made clear that we will not participate in his Process, which we have sought to have set aside in our Judicial review. We specified that the EMAG Board will reconsider only after the JR judgement is handed down in October.
Download the 33-page interim Chadwick Report and the ancilliary appendix of written submissions.
The Scotsman wrote:
"ANOTHER month, another mountain of drivel for the dwindling army of Equitable Life policyholders to digest. Sir John Chadwick this week published his government commissioned report outlining how the long-suffering victims of the debacle could be compensated. The 33-page report includes some impressive looking algebraic formulas, presumably constructed to eliminate any chance of even one policyholder getting more compensation than they merit."
Read the press coverage.
01/09/2009 - The PO slams the Chief Secretary
Ann Abraham, the PO, has written accusing the first secretary of the Treasury, Liam Byrne, of misleading the House on 21st July. It is as serious an accusation as can be made towards a politician in power.
In a letter to Mr Byrne dates 20 August, she writes:
"I noted what you said in the House on 21 July, and did not recognise it as a true representation of my position. That said this is not the first time that the Government has misrepresented my position in order to defend its own and I suspect it will not be the last."
See their exchange of letters on the PO's website.
11/08/2009 - Vanni Treves regrets
Yet another hagiography to Equitable's departing chairman appeared in the Sunday Telegraph (9 Aug '09). No-one can say the Society's lobbyists, Finsbury PR, haven't done their darndest to point out how unkind this government has been in failing, thus far, to reward Vanni Treves with the customary gong.
Vanni expresses regret for his aborted legal action against Ernst & Young which cost members £45m and four wasted years. E & Y's barrister, Mark Hapgood QC, has described it as: "the biggest climb-down in English legal history".
11/08/2009 - EMAG's evidence on calculating compensation
In response to requests from EMAG members, here are links for those interested in our submissions to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC):
- ) November '08 submission - which showed our loss calculations
- ) January '09 submission - which showed how the Treasury's restriction of the PO's findings by means of Command Paper 7538 reduces prospective compensation by 90%.
03/08/2009 - EMAG presented to the all-party groupOn 14 July, three EMAG directors presented an update to those attending the second session of the all-party group. Read the uncorrected draft minutes of EMAG's presentation.
03/08/2009 - The JR legal sketeton's
EMAG is pleased to be able to publish both sides legal skeleton arguments, as presented to the Judges:
03/08/2009 - Liam Byrne - outrage
On the last day before the summer recess the new chief secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, was summoned to the Commons by Susan Kramer MP to answer questions and make a Statement about Equitable Life. Byrne claimed the PO had recommended that the Government should do nothing, whereas the Government believed an ex-gratia scheme for "an injustice that we have accepted" should be made. What an outrageous distortion of the trurth!
Read the Q & As from Hansard.
Read the Government’s Statement to the House.
22/07/2009 - EMAG’s JR in Court 1
High noon on Tuesday 21 July saw Dinah Rose QC kick off EMAG's claim. She seemed to hit the right note with extremely experience Appeal Court Lord Justice Robert Carnwath, sitting with High Court Judge Gross. Five of EMAG's board were present and the same number from the
PO's office whose credibility is on the line in this case. The case continued through to Thursday night 23 July and three EMAG directors remained present throughout. Judgement is expected in early October.
Read EMAG's press release
See nine press articles
22/07/2009 - EDM 1423 achieves a majority!On Tuesday 21st July, just before Parliament's recess, Vince Cable's EDM achieved 323 MP signatories (subsequently 328). Thus, a majority of the House has signed up to honour the PO's recommendations. It is more than 50 MPs ahead of its closest rival. This is an absolute triumph for the persistence of EMAG members across the Country!
09/07/2009 - EMAG regional meetings apace
There have been meetings across of EMAG members with their MPs and parliamentary candidates in the last few weeks. The most recent being in Exter, Dorchester and Havant. On 11 July there will be an EMAG meeting of regional organisers in London to compare tactics and to gear up for increased regional activity. Here are links to just three of the most recent meetings:
Find your local group and get involved!
09/07/2009 - Change the record, Harriet H
On 8 July Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP chair of the all-party Equitable group, asked Harriet Harman at Prime Minister's question a question about encouraging Sir John Chadwich to reconsider his refusal to come before the all-party committee of MPs for Justice for Equitable Life policyholders, which Daniel chairs and now has 128 members.
To say Harriet's answer was predictably pathetic is an gross understatement. Read this and weep:
"We all strongly believe that there should be justice for the Equitable Life policyholders who have fallen victim to mismanagement stretching back to the '80s and to a failure in the regulatory system for which the Government have apologised and recognised the need to set up ex gratia compensation. In order to establish how we should do that, following the ombudsman's report, we have asked Sir John Chadwick to report on making progress on setting up a framework for compensation. The then Chief Secretary to the Treasury gave a statement to the House and there have been debates on the matter in Westminster Hall. We will ensure that the House is updated. This is a very important issue and we will make sure that Equitable Life policyholders get justice."
15/06/2009 - JR set for July hearing
On 5 June EMAG went to the High Court to urge Gross J. to compel the Treasury’s barrister, Clive Lewis QC, to file its response and evidence earlier than the maximum time allowable, to expedite the hearing. EMAG was successful in gaining four extra days and the JR should be set down for a three day hearing in week commencing 20th July. EMAG will be represented by Dinah Rose QC.
15/06/2009 - Recent Tory comments
Oliver Letwin, who has responsibility for the Tory manifesto, wrote a sympathetic article for the Western Gazette about Equitable on May 25th. He will attend a meeting with policyholders in Dorset on 3 July.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne addressed the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on 8th of June and was reported encouragingly, as having said: "...the Tories want to resolve the Equitable Life debacle in a way that is fair to policyholders and restores broader confidence in the industry."
10/06/2009 - Another adjournment debate
On 19 May, leading Tory David Davis sponsored an excellent Adjournment Debate on Equitable Life. He made a fine speech, as did Vince Cable in particular. Subsequently David Davis met with EMAG on 10th June. Take the time to read the debate in Hansard.
16/05/2009 - PO used her "nuclear option"
On 6th May the PO used her ultimate sanction – laying before Parliament a short Report expressing her gross dissatisfaction with the Government's inadequate response to her major work. She makes clear that 'The Chadwick Process' breaks the linkage between the Injustices she found and Compensation (para 32). In para 64 she spells out that this process cannot redress the maladministrations she reported.
From the P:O's press release:
Whatever the outcome of the work to be done by Sir John, it is clear that not everyone who has suffered injustice will be eligible for a payment and that not all of the injustice
suffered will be put right. The injustice I identified in my report will not therefore be remedied as a result of the Government’s response.
Download the Report.
There was a particularly powerful article in the Daily Telegraph by Ian Cowie on 9th May, pointing out Gordson Brown's personal hypocrisy.
Read the very extensive damning press coverage.
17/04/2009 - EMAG launches a JR against the Treasury
EMAG announced that it has lodged a Claim for Judicial Review against the Government's response to the PO's Report. An appeal for contributions was posted to members in mid-March and the litigation simply could not have been progressed without the swift and response of thousands of EMAG's members. A substantial six figure sum has already been received, though it is doubtful that it will cover all prospective legal costs to see the legal process through – so do please contribute if you can.
The case is expected to be heard in the High Court in the autumn, if EMAG's request for expedition is granted. Read EMAG's press release: Press Release 14th April 2009 - EMAG announces a JR against the Treasury
Paul Weir and Paul Braithwaite did several broadcast interviews and the national press coverage on 15th April was extensive.
EMAG has been advised that the JR may NOT be used by Government to claim the subject is now frozen ("sub judice"). This because EMAG's Claim challenges ministers' decisions and the rules don't allow ducking below the parapet!
17/04/2009 - Parliamentary progress
The Commons is on holiday until 20th April, followed swiftly by the Budget on 22nd April. The PO is expected to table a follow-on report before Parliament before the end of the month, known as a 10(3). It is the "nuclear option" available to the PO when she is totally dissatisfied with a public body's response to one of her reports. This will be only the fifth one in forty years. It may well prompt another Equitable Life debate in the Commons and a further all party early day motion (EDM).
The all party MP group 'Justice for Equitable Life policyholders' expects to hold its second meeting in May. Please, do ask your MP to join the group and lend their moral support.
10/04/2009 - EMAG clarifies its view on a JR to PASC
EMAG has submitted a Memorandum to Dr Tony Wright, chairman of the Public Administration select committee (PASC). It addresses why EMAG believes that his comments about the prospects for the outcome of a Judicial Review (JR) were misconceived.
10/04/2009 - EMAG presented to the all party group of MPs “Jusice to Equitable Life policyholders”
On 1st April in committee room 17 of the Palace of Westminster the inaugural meeting of the group was held. The joint chairs elected were: Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative) and Dr Ian Gibson (Labour) and the secretary will be Susan Kramer (Lib Dem). EMAG presented the policyholders’ case to the assembled MPs. You can read EMAG's written aide memoire on why 90% of policyholders will probably be excluded from "the Chadwick Process".
19/03/2009 - Select Committee’s second report
The PASC select committee has produced a second and blistering new report criticising the Government’s shabby response to the PO’s Report.
Read the Committee’s own Press Release
Read the Report 'Justice denied?'.
Listen to Committee Chair, Dr Tony Wright and Paul Braithwaite on the TODAY programme.>
Read the national press coverage.
EMAG wrote to every MP to follow up the PASC Report. Read the Letter
19/03/2009 - EMAG’s legal pre-action protocolEMAG delivered its letter to the Treasury that is the prerequisite to a Judicial Review on 13th March. Read the charges
14/03/2009 - Challenge to "The Chadwick Process" rejected.
On 9th February EMAG wrote to the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) and the Lord Chancellor, now Jack Straw at the new Ministry of Justice, to challenge the inappropriate appointment of Sir John Chadwick, with an extensive solicitors letter from Public Law experts Bindmans LLP enclosed by way of substantiation. Read Bindmans’ letter
Copies of the letter were sent to Sir John Chadwick, the Treasury minister Ian Pearson and the PASC select committee. No acknowledgement was ever received from the LCJ, the Lord Chancellor or Sir John. Finally on 7th March, almost four weeks later, EMAG received a comprehensive letter rejecting the arguments. It reported that the LCJ, the Treasury and Sir John were all "content" with the dismissive letter.
It does seem extraordinary that an expression of grave concern about the blurring of the traditional constitutional divide between Judiciary and Government should receive a reply from a Government ministry that answered also for the Lord Chief Justice! The Establish appears determined to hold the line on the questionable appointment of Sir John Chadwick. Read the Ministry of Justice’s letter
09/02/2009 - PASC 5: January 27th
The select committee heard from Ann Abraham, Charles Thomson and three EMAG directors. The session started with a passive resolved attitude amongst the MPs that a scheme was in train and the parliamentary process has nearly run its course. After two hours, their complacency was visibly shaken. See Colin Slater's submission on WHY only 10% of victims would be eligible. See Ann Abraham's powerful Memorandum and read the uncorrected transcript – this really is riveting stuff.
See the quality press's coverage.
PASC will convene for the sixth time on 11th February to take oral evidence again from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ian Pearson MP.
09/02/2009 - Westminster Hall debate
Yet again, it was a Lib Dem MP who dedicated a 90-minute adjournment debate to Equitable Life on January 27th, post the Statement from Yvette Cooper made on 15th January. In advance EMAG wrote to ALL 646 MPs to alert them.
Last time it was Jo Swinson, this time Steve Webb MP, who led the debate with panache. The Lib Dem front bench lead was David Heath, who is also well worth reading. In contrast, the mumbling apologist Treasury minister Angela Eagle, who had drawn the short straw, did the winding up and performed dismally. Both adjournment debates attracted the attendance of more than 30 MPs, which is almost unprecedented!
18/01/2009 - Minister Yvette Cooper misled Parliament
If you watched Yvette Cooper’s presentation to the Commons at 1.30pm on 15th January (and the 45 minutes of questions thereafter) you would have formed, as MPs undoubtedly did, an incorrect impression. EMAG had warned in advance that, like a Gordon Brown budget of old, the devil would be in the detail and what was delivered on the day might not square subsequently– and so it was. The formal “Command Paper” documentary Government response was maliciously held back from both media and interested parties alike until 8.30pm – after all press stories had been filed. It contained some very unpleasant surprises.
The impression given had been one of an unequivocal apology. Not so. The Government only apologises for a fraction of the PO’s findings – those that it has conceded. The PO recommended Independent Tribunal dispensing Compensation for Injustice is out of the window. Replaced by a behind-closed-doors process: Lord Chadwick has been asked just to “advise” the Treasury and on only those findings that the Government has accepted, with a view to ex-gratia charitable payments to those who have suffered “disproportionate impact” - whatever that means. It seems to be a code for a means-tested mealy-mouthed tiny hardship fund. No timetable whatsoever has been set. It seems certain that no money camn be paid out in this scenario in 2009 and Cooper would only concede that the Treasury would look into interim payments. It is quite apparent that virtually nothing has happened in the six months since PO 2 was published.
18/01/2009 - What next for EMAG?
EMAG did a pretty effective job helping the media grasp just how policyholders had been stuffed-up and batted back into the long grass once again. This took place even before we had seen the extent of the betrayal revealed in the formal "Command Paper". Read it and weep.
Within two hours of Yvette Cooper sitting down, EMAG had emailed a letter to all MPs to complain about the content of the minister’s speech, which echoed the performance of her predecessor, Ruth Kelly, with her deceitful presentation of the Penrose Report five years earlier. The brass-neck ambition of these Treasury ministers beggars belief. In the letter EMAG asked MPs to demand a full Commons debate on the Statement and the PASC Report, published on 15th December.
EMAG will be consulting our lawyers Bindman & Patners, who are experts in Public Law and Judicial Reviews, on January 21st, to decide how we will proceed. Thereafter, we will email all EMAG members with an update on our strategy. If you are a paid up member of EMAG, do we have your up-to-date email address? If not, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, home address and your correct new email, please?
06/01/2009 - Just days left to convince your MP
We are approaching a very decisive day. One day next week the government should finally make a statement about what it plans to do about Equitable Life, the PO's report and compensation. Hopefully, a last-minute effort from all of us could help to influence the outcome.
If EMAG were to offer each member £100 to write to your MP or £1,000 to visit your MP in his or her surgery within the next couple of weeks and eloquently plead your case for compensation we’d be fairly certain to have to pay out millions! Well, before you get too excited, we are not going to make that offer! However if you do make such an effort THIS WEEK it may help you to get back much more in the form of government compensation for your losses.
06/01/2009 - EMAG wrote again to PASC 4th Jan
EMAG wrote again to the select committee to express concern about the evidence of Sir Howard Davies and journalist John Kay. The letter goes on to list eight examples of cover up by the FSA.
It alludes to an earlier sumission (not previously published) to PASC written by Nicolas Bellord and sent on 5th December in advance of PASC quizzing minister Ian Pearson MP on 9th December. That paper draws heavily upon evidence in the PO Report’s Chronology to reveal the depths that the FSA sank to in acting complicitly in orchestrating the valueless reinsurance treaty which was crucial to ELAS achieving the allusion of solvency post 1999.