Brown Continues to Treat Equitable Life Policy Holders with Contempt

The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöettering, has written to Gordon Brown to demand a response to the European Parliament’s resolution of 19th June 2007 - explicitly requiring the UK government to ensure that Parliament’s conclusions and recommendations are acted upon to prevent a repeat of the Equitable Life debacle.

The government has already stated that it will await the outcome of a separate national Ombudsman’s inquiry before responding to the European Parliament’s recommendations - a likely delay of more than one year. Mr Pöettering has asked the Prime Minister “to look into the this issue and act in a way which will ensure that the authority of Parliament and of its right of inquiry enshrined in the EC Treaty do not risk being prejudiced by the lasting lack of a formal response by the British government.

Sir Robert, who was instrumental in setting up the Parliament’s Special Investigatory Committee, commented:

“This contempt for the European Parliament must stop. Common courtesy demands that the Prime Minister responds to a resolution published in June and affecting thousands of British citizens. We demand the courtesy of a reply - and action!”


Notes: In 2004 the Committee on Petitions received two petitions on behalf of policyholders of Equitable Life throughout the EU. At Sir Robert’s behest and with the support of many colleagues across the political spectrum, Parliament set up an enquiry into Equitable Life. It heard from some of the thousands who suffered financial and emotional stress in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and many other countries. Members questioned officials, advisers, journalists and even – unsatisfactorily – the Chief Executive, but representatives of the British regulators and the British Government were conspicuous by their absence.

It discovered the incorrect implementation of EU law by the UK Government; structural weaknesses within, and failure to communicate between, the UK and other Member States’ financial regulatory systems; the failure of the European Commission to monitor adequately the implementation of EU law by individual Member States; the dubious actions of the staff and senior management of Equitable Life; the ineffectiveness of the financial redress system available to victims; and dereliction of duty and the failure to respect policyholders’ reasonable expectations by those regulators.

It made a number of recommendations, which, as the Commissioner said, amount to some 47. Chief amongst them is the belief that the transposition of the Third Life Directive was inadequate and, therefore, action needs to be taken in that respect. Members need to ensure that citizens of the EU have redress for grievances throughout the EU, not just in the country in which the company is based.

Sir Robert and his colleagues in the Conservative Party demanded, that the British Government make recompense to those policyholders who have suffered because of the failure of the regulatory system and of the ministers involved.

A full copy of the report can be accessed via the following link:

Top ↑