Phil Bennion has welcomed the European Parliament move to cap bankers' bonuses and criticised Conservatives forcing the coalition government to oppose it as being 'out of touch' with the public mood.

City-banksThe West Midlands Lib Dem MEP said: "This is just one instance when the European Parliament has clearly shown itself to be more in touch with public opinion than governments.

"There can be no justification for lottery-number bonuses, or indeed salaries, being awarded to bankers whose dubious practices have led to so much disaster.

"The banking industry seems still to be unashamed at the damage wrought by their top people on astronomical rewards.

"My Lib Dem colleague Sharon Bowles MEP led for the Parliament on this issue - the cap on bonuses is there because of pressure from MEPs, it was not originally in the proposal. She has done a great job and won an important victory for the ordinary citizen.

"National governments - including Britain - have been too cautious and fearful in tackling the banks and the bonus culture head-on. Ordinary people needed elected MEPs to fight for them.

"It is regrettable that state-owned RBS still paid out Β£600million in bonuses last year at the same time as making a loss of over Β£5billion.

"Banking and financial services is an important industry but bankers cannot be immune from the real world and the consequences of their failure. The gap between the super-rich in this bubble and the rest of us is unsustainable."

"The EU is trying hard to win better regulation of the banking industry. Britain's Conservatives, led by Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, are the reason why the coalition has not supported a cap, though thanks to Vince Cable tougher regulation is on the way.

"Under Labour, weak regulation and a casino culture allowed the banks to plunge us into this desperate financial crisis in the first place."

ENDS