The independent action group for current and ex Equitable Life policyholders, funded by contributions.

Equitable Members Action Group

Equitable Members Action Group Limited, a company limited by guarantee, number 5471535 registered in the UK

Correspondence: 27/11/2003 - Letter from Ann Abraham to MP Norman Lamb

Letter from Ann Abraham to MP Norman Lamb 27 November '03


Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk, Liberal Democrat Shadow Treasury Minister and member of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the Parliamentary Ombudsman following her refusal to meet with an all-party group of MPs to discuss her Equitable Life report's exoneration of the regulator.

The decision by the Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, follows news that the Commons Public Administration Committee would not take evidence from her because of legal advice that the sub judice rule (in respect of a possible judicial review action by EMAG, the Equitable Members Action Group) could be prejudicial. EMAG's own lawyers have challenged this advice, and say that the case is not yet 'live" and no High Court Judge could possibly be prejudiced by anything Abraham may say to MPs.

"I am extremely disappointed by Ann Abraham's decision", said Norman Lamb. "It seems extraordinary that MPs are denied access to the Ombudsman on such an important issue which affects so many of our constituents. There was widespread dismay when Ann Abraham published her ruling on 540 Equitable complaints. Surely MPs should have the opportunity to question her on this?

"I have written back to the Ombudsman, asking her to think again. Equitable's policyholders and annuitants feel that they have been left in the dark. There is already a serious concern that the oft delayed Penrose report, when it finally emerges, could be censored by the Treasury. People feel as though they are being faced by a conspiracy of silence."