Few MPs have made quite so many waves recenty as last year’s Spectator backbencher of
the year, Andrew Tyrie. Under his chairmanship, the Treasury Select Committee seems to have gained a new vitality and edge. And it has certainly accumulated more powers, with the ability to veto the
government’s appointments to, and dismissals from, the Office for Budget Responsibility. As he put it himself in an interview with the Independent last week, "The fight back
by Parliament is beginning now."
Just how aggressively he intends to prosecute that fight back is suggested by his comments in the Times
(£) today. Responding to George Osborne’s recent
demands for the banks to start lending again, he says:
“I am very concerned that banks are not lending enough to SMEs and it is not clear to me how Britain can have a prolonged period of trend growth without the normalisation of
banks’ activity. Having said that, the Government isn’t going to succeed at getting more lending just by shouting at banks or threatening them.”
And he also launches a broadside against the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner. With the political and economic landscape as it is, these kinds of interventions
could – for good or ill – make Tyrie a defining figure of this Parliament.