A senior legislator has attacked the Bank of England's supervisory body for its refusal to provide details to parliament about talks held over the collapse of bank Northern Rock in 2007.
The complaint by Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the House of Commons' Treasury Committee, highlights parliamentarians' concerns about the Bank's lack of accountability at a time when it is about to be handed far-reaching new powers in the government's overhaul of Britain's financial regulation.
The Bank's Court, which oversees the Bank's conduct but does not influence policy, refused to provide Tyrie's committee with detailed minutes of talks relating to the financial crisis.
Northern Rock was fully nationalised after suffering a run on its deposits at the start of the credit crisis, and the Bank has faced harsh public criticism over its actions at the time.
This was the most serious financial crisis for decades and the Bank's decision-making affected the economic future of the country, the committee's chairman Andrew Tyrie said in a statement.
The committee was unable to carry out its function of holding the Court to account without access to the information, he said.
The Court's response is a reflection of the problem which the Committee's inquiry into the accountability of the Bank of England has been seeking to address, he said.
In a letter to Tyrie, published by the committee, the chairman of the Bank's Court, David Lees, argued that publishing details of conversations officials had assumed were private could inhibit frank discussions in future.
Lees also said Britain's Freedom of Information Act allowed the Bank to keep details of certain activities private, as disclosure could seriously compromise the effectiveness of its policy.
The issue of accountability is likely to be addressed during a hearing of Bank governor Mervyn King and deputy governor Paul Tucker in parliament's joint committee looking into the Financial Services Bill, which includes the government's proposals for the new regulatory framework.
(Reporting by Sven Egenter)