Labour Condemns 'Sickening' Lehman Brothers Reunion Cocktail Party

Ned Simons
Christie's employees walk into the auction rooms with the main sign from the Lehman Brothers London office after the bank collapsed.

Labour has branded plans for a Lehman Brothers staff reunion “sickening”, as bankers gear up for the 10-year anniversary of its collapse.

The Financial News reported on Monday that hundreds of former workers are set to meet at a secret location in London to share cocktails and canapes on September 15.

The day marks a decade since global firm Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, just over a year after the credit crunch began.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the planned party was “absolutely sickening after a decade of people suffering austerity”.

“It’s particularly disgraceful in the context of all the people who lost their jobs and homes to pay for bailing out these bankers who caused the financial crash, as well as against a backdrop of firefighters, police officers and other public servants facing years of brutal Tory pay restraint,” he added.

“People will be absolutely disgusted about this unacceptable and highly inappropriate gathering.”

The email invitation for the reunion was addressed to “Lehman Brothers & Sisters”.

It said: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the last of our Lehman days! … One of the best things about Lehman was the people.

“What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary than getting everyone from former MDs to former analysts back together again!”

Reunions are also expected to take place in New York in September and Hong Kong in November.

The failure of the US banking giant became one of the most infamous and shocking moments of the crisis, spiralling the credit crunch into full-blown market chaos.

This autumn will also mark 10 years since the UK government threw a multi-billion pound taxpayer lifeline to the banking sector, taking stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds TSB and HBOS.

Lloyds TSB would go on to take over ailing HBOS to become Lloyds Banking Group, which at its peak was 43 percent owned by the taxpayer and only went fully private again in 2017.