As chief operating officer of the Bank of England, Charlotte Hogg helped draw up its code of conduct. Among its strictures was a requirement to disclose any connections to the financial institutions regulated by the Bank. Yet for four years, Miss Hogg failed to declare that her brother held a senior position with Barclays Bank that could call her impartiality into question. This startling omission triggered her resignation yesterday after the Commons treasury select committee reported that without its scrutiny of her suitability for the post of deputy governor “the clear perceived and potential conflicts that would arise in her new role may never have come to light”.
The MPs said there was no evidence that this had been deliberately concealed or that anyone had profited from it. But that is not the point. There is an inescapable sense that Miss Hogg, whose father and mother are both peers, simply did not consider that the rules applied to her because she thought it inconceivable that anyone would ever think she could use her position for personal family advantage.
But we can compare her fate with that of Francois Fillon, who continues as presidential candidate in France despite now being under official investigation for allegedly paying his wife substantial sums of public money for doing nothing. One reason why so many financial institutions base themselves in London, and will continue to do so after Brexit, is that the UK is largely free of the corruption seen elsewhere. In many other countries it is unlikely that Miss Hogg would have lost her job for what she claims to have been an oversight. It is right that she has here.