I was the joint Chair of the All-Party Equitable Life Group in the last Parliament. I became involved because of my constituents who had suffered as a result of the failure of the UK's oldest life insurance company in 2000. I introduced and Adjoumment Debate in June last year which was critical of the role played by our government in the poor regulation of Equitable which in turn led to the company's collapse. At the time, the Tories were having a field day attacking Labour's record on Equitable and their spokesperson, Mark Hoban was the most vicious. Now Hoban is the Treasury Minister responsible for Equitable and has badly let Equitable policyholders down by effectively agreeing that million or so who lost money will now only receive 10 pence in the pound.
I spoke in the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill which will pave the way for a compensation scheme to be introduced. However, I now find myself in an extraordinary position of being one of the only MPs to have been totally consistent in championing the rights of policyholders who have been cheated by the failure of a company which, in the very clear view of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, could not meet its obligations owing to a catastrophic failure of regulation. The campaign continues and I have agreed to stand for election as Joint Chair in this Parliament.