Farage demands resignation of NatWest chief Sir Howard Davies after debanking scandal | Politics | News

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Nigel Farage says NatWest ‘Chairperson’ Sir Howard Davies must go

has said NatWest Group chairman Sir Howard Davies must follow the example of Dame Alison Rose, the bank’s CEO, by resigning from his post in the wake of former Brexit Party leader’s infamous “debanking” by Coutts.

First Dame Alison and then Peter Flavel, chief executive of NatWest-owned private bank Coutts quit in the wake of revelations that the NatWest-owned private bank had cancelled Mr Farage’s account because his political views did not align with their own.

The former Brexit Party and UKIP leader offered his thoughts at the end of what he admitted had been “quite a week” in a five-minute long video clip shared via his Twitter account, during which he also referred to the apology which he had received from the BBC relating to their coverage of the story. Dame Alison has admitted to being the source.

Sir Howard has indicated he is not planning to follow suit by stepping down – but Mr Farage trained his sights firmly on the 72-year-old during the course of a stinging attack.

The financier had been the director of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the predecessor of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Mr Farage pointed out.

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage during the course of his five-minute video (Image: Nigel Farage)

He said: “How somebody who ran regulation of financial services could think it right initially, to back someone who’d broken plenty of the rules, including the most fundamental rule of banking, which is client confidentiality, is quite beyond me.”

Speaking of Dame Alison, he continued: “He then said that she’d been a great leader, which means of course, that she gets her payoff, she’ll get £2.43million pounds as a payoff, well done Sir Howard.

“But worst of all, what absolutely puts the tin lid on the whole thing, and why Sir Howard Davies has to go, is he’s announced a review, there will be a review into why my accounts were closed, and the leak, and that review will settle the matter.”

Sir Howard had appointed city legal company Travers Smith to head up that review, the emeritus chair and chief adviser of which is Chris Hale.

NatWest Group chairman Sir Howard Davies

NatWest Group chairman Sir Howard Davies (Image: Getty)

Mr Farage added: “And Chris Hale during the referendum campaign said that the Brexit campaign was ‘racist, xenophobic, and nostalgic’ – almost exactly the same words that were used about me in the document that Coutts had compiled on me.

“There is no way on earth these people can be allowed to conduct this review, given their position on Brexiteers and Brexit as is previously stated.

“It’s even worse than the usual whitewash we expect from big global financial institutions but I’m sure so how it is very smart this morning, because he’s appointed one of his mates and thinks he’s going to get away with it.

“But he can’t be allowed to get away with it. We need to get to the absolute truth of what happened.”

Dame Alison Rose

Dame Alison Rose resigned as NatWest CEO earlier this week (Image: GETTY)

Sir Howard, who was already preparing to step down from his role by mid-2024 before the saga unfolded, insisted he will to lead the board while the search for his successor continues.

Speaking to shareholders yesterday, he made it clear he had no intention of resigning, saying: “Like any chairman, I serve at the shareholders behest, but my intention is to continue to lead the board and ensure that the bank remains sound, stable and able to support our 19 million customers.

“The last few weeks have been a painful period for the bank, and we apologise for the uncertainty created for customers and shareholders during that period.”

The board had initially decided Dame Alison should remain despite “mistakes being made”, Sir Howard said.

However, he added: “The reaction was such as to convince her and the board that her position was untenable. But that is now in the past.”

City minister Andrew Griffith yesterday insisted it would not be “helpful” for the NatWest chairman to quit now as the bank sought to rebound from the crisis.

Andrew Griffith, who has led the Government’s response to the row, offered his backing to Sir Howard Davies after days of pressure on the bank’s leadership.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions: “Alison was the chief executive responsible for the day-to-day conduct of that organisation.

Andrew Griffith

City minister Andrew Griffith has said it would not be ‘helpful’ for Sir Howard to resign (Image: Getty)

“Sir Howard is the chairman of the board. He’s already going, they’re looking for a new chairman. I don’t think that Sir Howard Davies going now would be helpful.

“The important thing is there’s an independent investigation. I want to find out what was going on,” he told the programme.

NatWest Group unveiled its financial results on Friday, revealing its operating pre-tax profit hit £3.6 billion in the six months to the end of June, up £1 billion from the same time a year ago.

Paul Thwaite has been appointed Dame Alison’s replacement on an interim basis.

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