PracticeAuditChris Moncrieff…the corridors of power

Chris Moncrieff...the corridors of power

Astonishingly, until the weekend, the collapse of Enron had caused little more than a raised eyebrow in the House of Commons. But you can be sure that both the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury are keeping a worried eye on the situation.

The virtual silence was surprising because Andersen, the great accountancy firm, accused of shredding vital documents, and the British Labour Party have – if not jumped into bed together – at least been involved in some kind of foreplay which, you would have thought, might have roused the government’s political enemies into action.

However, neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats – in public at any rate – pursued ministers about what has been going on.

Andersen was out of favour with previous British governments because of its involvement in the De Lorean scandal, some 20 years ago.

However, Andersen began a courtship with Labour in the late 1980s, presumably on the theory that the best chance of getting more British official business was to await a Labour election victory.

Insiders will tell you that after failing to win the 1992 general election, Andersen helped the party formulate many of its economic policies.

Soon after the 1997 election the litigation over De Lorean was settled and Andersen was becoming a popular firm, although, to be fair, it always maintained that it had no political axe to grind.

Nobody is suggesting that anything improper occurred, but given Andersen’s connection with Enron, with all its ramifications, it seems surprising that the matter was not given a proper airing at Westminster.

Someone seems to have now nudged the Conservative and Liberal Democrat front-benches into putting pen to paper and tabling a few pointed questions to elicit facts from ministers about the events following the collapse.

Let’s see if they pursue it.

  • Chris Moncrieff is a senior political analyst at PA news.

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