“I wish to make an unreserved apology, I completely accept the committee’s report and I am truly sorry. My only mistake, though, was one of naivety. Everything I did was designed to strengthen regulations into payday lending and was not motivated by financial gain. All I can say is that I am so, so sorry.”
This was the speech of Tory MP Justin Tomlinson as he admitted to leaking a report written by the Public Accounts Committee about payday lending to to an empoyee of Wonga. As he made his apology, his colleagues reassured him and patted his shoulder as he left the chamber.
Tomlinson didn’t accidentally leak the report to a friend who just happened to work for a payday lender, he knew exactly what he was doing and when his mate helpfully drafted some amendments to the report he passed them back to the committee as his own, almost verbatim!
Giving a two day suspension from Parliament when most employers would have you on charges of gross misconduct and potentially the sack seems little punishment for open collusion with those being recommended for further regulation.
Payday lenders who owing to recent regulation and closer monitoring by the still fairly toothless Financial Conduct Authority have now come under greater scrutiny and their profits have fallen dramatically in part due to the huge amount of loans that have had to be written off due to miss-selling and illegal debt collection practices. This has not stopped the companies from setting huge interest rates and targeting people who have no other access to credit or often other funds.
As long as low wages and zero hour contracts exist, exploitative money lending practices will continue to flourish and they’ll still have scumbag Tory MPs onside to help them out.