Nigel Farage: NatWest boss admits 'serious error' over banking row

NatWest has backed Dame Alison Rose after she admitted to a 'serious error of judgment' in the Farage case, Joel Hills has the latest

The boss of NatWest, which owns Coutts, has admitted she made a 'serious error of judgement' when discussing Nigel Farage's bank accounts with the BBC.

Last week, Dame Alison Rose apologised to the former UKIP leader for the closure of his accounts and commissioned a review into the processes followed by Coutts.

ITV News understands that the prime minister and chancellor have both expressed their concerns over Dame Alison Rose remaining at NatWest in her capacity as CEO.

Following the apology, Mr Farage stated that "they should all go" in reference to NatWest CEO Dame Alison, Coutts CEO Peter Flavel and Group chairman Howard Davies.

The board at the banking giant said that it "retains full confidence" in Dame Alison, but the events will be taken into account in decisions of her remuneration.

Howard Davies, chairman of the NatWest Group, said: "The board is clear that the overall handling of the circumstances surrounding Mr Farage accounts has been unsatisfactory, with serious consequences for the bank.

"The board will commission an independent review into the account closure arrangement at Coutts, and the lessons to be learnt from this."

The statement comes after the chairman was put under mounting pressure to determine whether Dame Alison had played a role in the leaking of Mr Farage’s information.

The story of Mr Farage's bank account at Coutts being closed first came to light after it was reported by the BBC that he did not meet the bank's financial threshold.

Mr Farage received an apology from the BBC over an inaccurate story that suggested the closure of his account was not due to his political views but because he lacked the funds needed to hold an account at the high-net-worth bank.

The former Brexit Party leader accepted the apology but shifted the focus back to NatWest, emphasising the need for an internal investigation into the leak, calling on Sir Howard to take action in this regard.

Speaking on his GB News show, Mr Farage said: “This is a serious breach. I hadn’t said to anybody that the bank I was having trouble with was Coutts… She chose to put it into the public domain with Simon Jack. She broke an essential confidence.”

After telling his viewers about the Financial Conduct Authority’s conduct rules, he added: “I think there has been complete failure in this regard.

“I think they are doing their best to prop up Alison Rose, her remuneration will be hit. She might not get the £5.2 million she got last year.

“But it is perfectly clear to me that Peter Flavel, the CEO of Coutts, has not done his job at all. It is perfectly clear to me that Alison Rose is unfit to be the CEO of a big group and that Howard Davies, who is supposed to be in charge of governance, has failed as well."

Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis said Mr Farage's rights were “being trampled on in a pretty spectacular way”.

Speaking on Mr Farage's show, he added: “I’m afraid I think that Dame Alison Rose has little choice but to resign. And frankly, I’m astonished that the board of directors indicated full confidence in her."

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