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

Documents: 04/11/2003 - Impressions of the Parliamentary debate on Equitable Life. By Paul Braithwaite.

Impressions of the Parliamentary debate on Equitable Life Nov 4th, 2003. By Paul Braithwaite.

Ruth Kelly had little new to say. In fact, she was even more cautious in her undertakings to publish Penrose than on previous occasions.

She reiterated the mantra that, despite Penrose being a Judge, aided by a Treasury civil servant, who have said that the Penrose Report is being written with a view to being published in full (i.e. self-censorship), and the Society having been shut for three years (so, NO commercial considerations) and Maxwellisation taking weeks to give everyone criticised the chance to make corrections, protestations and threats - the Treasury still INSISTS that its solicitors must carefully consider the whole report very carefully to be satisfied on legality (!) and confidentiality - and this may therefore take some time before it can be published.

Not only does this stance perpetuate the suspicion of the government 's continuing cover-up, but it's an insult to Lord Penrose, IMHO.
It was an utter disgrace that, other than Ruth Kelly, not one Labour MP sat through the debate. There was a five minute appearance by Jane Griffiths who interrupted Richard Ottoway to make the cheap party point that the Tories seemed to say that mis-regulation was on their own watch. She was roundly rebutted and left immediately.

Colin Slater's excellent paper summarising what TRULY happened in the 1990s was clearly the bedrock for Richard Ottoway's fine opening remarks, which was most gratifying that it has been read and understood.

It must surely be unprecedented that the Parliamentary Ombudsman was on the receiving end of extensive criticism. There was concern expressed as to whether MPs and constituents could trust her after her extensively criticised report.

TreasCom has undertaken to reconvene on ELAS after Penrose is published.

Vincent Cable suggested that the FSA now appears to be acting as a shadow director in condoning infinite delays by the board in addressing and dispensing the many compensation schemes that have been provided for more than one year.

Time and again, Sir Gordon Downey's excellent, succinct speech of last Tuesday, attacking the Ombudsman's Report and listing regulatory failures as he saw them, was praised and quoted from. EMAG received, I counted, four commendations for our good work.

ALL policyholders are in the debt of Stephen O'Brien, Vincent Cable, Richard Ottoway, John Barrett and Chris Grayling who spoke up so eloquently on our behalf.

Kelly started with the usual disingenuous expression of sympathy.

She also alluded to light-touch regulation (the right to fail, glossing over the fact that the concept (light touch regulation) was NOT in place when a million plus policyholders poured their precious savings into ELAS on the understanding that "Regulated by..." meant something approximating to the Insurance Act 1982 - with a duty to protect us from unreasonable risk and to satisfy Policyholder's Reasonable Expectations (and NOT just solvency).

Once again she reported that the FSA is currently working WITH the board (too right!) and "continues to monitor the situation"!

But in summary, the opposition parties gave the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Ruth Kelly a roasting.