The position of Lord Green as Minister for Trade and Investment is looking increasingly untenable. Members of the Opposition are calling for him to answer "serious questions" in the light of the latest banking scandal.
As reported in Digital Journal, HSBC may well face a fine of $1 billion due to its activities in laundering drug cartel money and other suspicious funds. During in the relevant time period, Stephen Green was a senior manager of the bank, being Chief Executive from 2003 to 2006 before becoming Chairman until 2010. He was elevated to the House of Lords by British Prime Minister, David Cameron so as to enable the now Lord Green to become a government minister. In November of last year, Lord Green, who is also a priest in the Church of England, was given responsibility for financial services and banking.
According to the Daily Mirror, Labour MP, John Mann, who is a member of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee said Stephen Green should never have been made a minister. He added:
Someone whose bank has been assisting drug cartels and corrupt regimes should not be in charge of a government portfolio.
Christopher Leslie, the Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with rather more restrained language merely stated:
Stephen Green, who was executive chairman of the bank when this took place and is now a Trade Minister in David Cameron’s Government, now has serious questions to answer about what he knew and when.
The government have yet to say anything substantial on the matter. Downing Street contenting itself, as Huff Post points out, with the claim that "it is a matter for HSBC."
However, it is unlikely that calls to hold Lord Green to account will simply fade away, as Senator Levin's investigation has, according to the Daily Telegraph, firmly identified the problems at HSBC as occurring under Green's leadership.
It is difficult to see how Lord Green can possibly provide satisfactory answers to the "serious questions" he now faces. Did he know what was happening under his leadership of the bank? If he says he did not, he is revealed as incompetent at least, if not wilfully blind, and on that ground alone should not be a minister of state. If he says he did know, why did he not take action to stop such practices? It would seem that Lord Green is seriously damaged as a member of the government. The only real question is how long will it be before he is forced to resign.