Daily Mail

Rose given a helpful hand

- Alex Brummer CITY EDITOR

APOLOGIES from regulators are not very common, except among football’s VAR enforcers confessing human error. it is refreshing that the informatio­n Commission­er’s office (iCo) has apologised to former NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose for suggesting it had made a finding against her when she had not been investigat­ed.

Rose found herself in the firing line from the iCo after it found that NatWest had breached data protection laws by allowing details of Nigel Farage’s bank account to become public.

The informatio­n Commission­er now acknowledg­es that it never gave Rose a chance to comment on its findings.

it was NatWest, as the data controller, which was the subject of the investigat­ion, not its former chief executive.

The ioC’s correction could be helpful to Dame Alison, her lawyers and advisers as they combat efforts to claw back up to £11m of salary and share incentives due under the terms of her contract.

Rose was effectivel­y dismissed from NatWest after its biggest shareholde­r HM government, with a 38pc stake, encouraged her departure when details of Farage’s bank account at Coutts were inadverten­tly disclosed. it is normal practice for regulators to run their findings past all individual­s affected. The right of reply is seen as part of natural justice. in the case of the well off and powerful, it can be weaponised as a means of delaying findings or disciplina­ry action.

We live in an age when social media, rolling news stations and commentato­rs can rush to wrong judgments, which fix in the public mind and are never fully squashed.

it generally has been accepted in public debate about the economy that the office for Budget Responsibi­lity assessment that the UK would suffer a 4pc hit to output as a consequenc­e of Brexit was holy writ.

New analysis of Britain’s trade patterns by the free market institute for economic Affairs shows that the UK’s commerce with the eU has failed to show any adverse impact from Brexit, let alone a calamitous loss of growth.

in the world of geopolitic­s, it is hard to shift similar errors. By the time that Western intelligen­ce had determined that the israel Defence Forces bore no responsibi­lity for the destructio­n at the al-Ahli Hospital in gaza, it was fact on the Arab street.

erasing factual errors, with enormous financial, economic and political consequenc­es, is all but impossible. That is especially true if the narrative is one which powerful factions or people want to believe.

As NatWest chief executive, Rose has become a victim of a false narrative as far as the ioC is concerned. None of this excuses naivety in disclosure of confidenti­al customer details to the media.

We can no longer expect the highest standards from our high street banks after so many behavioura­l failings.

Power play

BRiTAiN’s titanic struggle to meet climate change targets is admirable and for the greater good of the planet.

But when it sacrifices the wellbeing and safety of the nation, you have to question the speed of adjustment.

in the greater scheme of things, the government’s intention to speed up investment in offshore oil and gas by holding annual auctions may seem provocativ­e.

securing energy supplies has never been more important. At the weekend, the UK’s friends in Riyadh conspired with foes in Russia to keep the oil price high by limiting production. That will hurt almost every citizen in Britain this winter. Matters could get worse with the World Bank fearful that conflagrat­ion in Middle east could send the oil price to $157-per-barrel.

Unlike the Us, which has prospered from the fracking revolution, Britain is never going to be self-sufficient in fossil fuels. However, as the nation transition­s to a green future, the knowledge that there is local production available, even if it is sold at market prices, ought to be comforting. Moreover, it should be positive for the balance of payments and the pound. Maybe that’s what ‘securonomi­cs’ – as shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves calls it – should be about.

Wrong number

is Telecom italia showing the way ahead for europe’s struggling national phone networks? ending speculatio­n, Telecom italia (with Rome’s approval) has agreed to the sale of its fixed line operation to private equity kingpins KKR for £17bn.

The whole of BT, including thriving mobile network ee, is valued at just £12bn. That points to serious mispricing.

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