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He has the rather strange job of 'shadowing' his Lib Dem colleague Vince Cable from the government benches where the Liberal Democrats now sit. At a meeting in the National Liberal Club last night, he made it clear that he sees his role as supporting Mr Cable while making sure that some of his party's key pledges on on better support for smaller businesses are still on the Coalition's agenda. In particular, he stressed the need for regional enterprise funds that are not dependent on the current banking sector for making judgements on the viability of business plans as at present. Mr Thurso also explained his enthusiasm for the creation of regional stock exchanges which he beleives could help small to medium sized firms expand by raising equity rather than become reliant on debt.
He also set out his view that part of the problem in the banking sector is the clash of cultures between investment banking and retail banking which is why he is a keen supporter of the separation of the two. His concern wasn't so much about so-called casino banking, a view he dismissed as rather superficial, but more the simple fact that the dominance of investment banking (especially in terms of profits) in some of the large banking groups has sidelined the retail side and diluted their expertise in the small business sector.
John Thurso is one of the more colourful members of the House of Commons - the first hereditary peer to sit as an MP, a successful businessman and probably the only MP to have appeared naked on television. The Wikipedia entry fills in some of the gaps.
The current list of members of the All Party Group is here: APPGmembers 07:10.pdf
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