Rishi Sunak questioned about Nigel Farage Coutts scandal
Brexiteer Nigel Farage claimed that his bank account was closed down after Coutts decided that his views “do not align” with its values. A new Express.co.uk poll has shown widespread criticism towards private bank’s decision.
Managing Director of NatWest Group Dame Alison Rose, which Coutts is a subsidiary of, has apologised to the former MEP for the “deeply inappropriate” comments made about him. She said that she was “commissioning a full review of the Coutts processes” on account closures.
In a poll that ran from 8.30am on Thursday, July 20, to 4pm on Monday, July 24, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Was Coutts wrong to close Nigel Farage’s bank account?”
A total of 6,031 votes were cast with the vast majority of readers, 89 percent (5,366 people) answering “yes” Coutts is wrong. While 11 percent (644 people) said “no” and 21 people said they did not know.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on Coutts closing Mr Farage’s account.
READ MORE: Treasury to summon bosses of every major bank in bid to end Nigel Farage saga
The majority of readers thought Coutts was in the wrong, with username JL77 writing: “Definitely wrong, banks have no right to close accounts because of someone’s views.”
Likewise, username ValBrooker said: “Any bank who does this over someone’s political stance, is well out of order. We cannot afford to allow banks to police and dictate our political views.”
Another, username Dasco, remarked: “Yes they were wrong to close the man’s account Banks are a service industry they should not be political or judge someone’s general views as long as a customer isn’t breaking the law.”
And username xl1 added: “It’s a disgrace to society. They had no right to close his account on the basis of his political views!”
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A Coutts spokesperson said that the decision to close accounts “are not taken lightly and take into account a number of factors including commercial viability, reputational considerations, and legal and regulatory requirements”.
While some readers thought that Coutts was right to close Mr Farage’s personal and business accounts. Username aka2 said: “Their bank, their choice.”
And username annewhite added: “Coutts are entitled to block any person they like.”
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Last week the Treasury announced new plans to protect freedom of speech, with banks set to face stricter rules on closing customers’ accounts.
The planned changes mean banks will have to explain why an account is being closed and a 90-day notice period, giving customers more time to challenge the decision or find alternative banking arrangements.
City Minister Andrew Griffith is planning to hold a meeting this week with banking industry and law enforcement bosses to discuss reforms and assurances for customers. But the new plans are unlikely to be introduced until after Parliament’s summer recess.
The Treasury said: “Lawful freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should be respected by banks. There’s no trade-off between that and also catching and locking up those engaged in financial crime. We are working closely with industry and law enforcement to ensure that our reforms work well with existing financial crime obligations.”
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