Thursday, October 09, 2008

Questions in Parliament

Actually, it was an intervention by Ann Winterton in a topical debate today on "financial stability". Addressing Mark Hoban, Conservative shadow financial secretary to the treasury, Ann asked:

There has been much speculation about the mark-to-market rules, which have played their part in creating this instability. Can my hon. Friend confirm that the implementation of mark-to-market rules is a European Union competency?
Hoban replied:

As I understand it, the mark-to-market rules fall within international accounting standards, which are implemented through EU law. The International Accounting Standards Board is looking at how illiquid financial instruments are valued in the absence of financial markets. That work is ongoing, and we need co-operation between the EU and the United States on that issue because there is a risk of divergent standards being used.
He's right on the "law" bit, but not quite there on the detail. But, at least, the "elephant" got a brief outing.

The interesting thing is that, if a junior member of the Conservative shadow team knew that the mark to market rules were implemented by "EU law", and it prepared to admit it in the House of Commons, why didn't his boss do likewise in his speech?

  • Other posts on the financial crisis here.