The backlash against the extraordinary decision by Coutts to de-bank Nigel Farage because his political leanings do not “align” with those of the bank is reaching boiling point.

Tory MPs are calling for Dame Alison Rose, the head of NatWest which owns Coutts, to be sacked while ministers are said to be considering new legislation which would prevent banks from having a license if they discriminate against customers on political grounds. 

Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the Treasury, is said to have asked civil servants to explore adding free speech protections to banking licences. If banks are found to have denied customers an account because of their political leanings, their license would be revoked. 

Politicians from across the divide have come out in support of Farage. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Farage’s colleague at GB News, brought the issue up at PMQs in the Commons today, asking if Rishi Sunak agreed that even “tiresome” opposition politicians should be entitled to the basic service of a bank account. 

The Prime Minister said that no one should be denied a bank account because of their political opinions, before tweeting a similar message: “This is wrong. No one should be barred from using basic services for their political views. Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman called the move from the so-called exclusive bank which manages the King’s finances “sinister” and blamed the “diversity, equality and inclusion industry” for fuelling such behaviour. Griffith added there is “serious concern” about the bank’s actions.

Even Labour’s usually tough-nut Jess Philips showed her support. She admitted that although she dislikes Farage “a huge amount”, no one should be denied a bank account on political grounds. However, the Labour frontbencher Alex Norris, shadow minister for levelling-up, failed to support Farage, saying it was too early to make a judgement: “We’re still working out the details of this case.”

The decision by Coutts to ask Farage to leave as a customer once his mortgage is paid has blown up after the former UKIP leader asked the bank – via a subject data access request – to give their reasons. And they were manifold, but they were not for commercial reasons as the BBC and the FT have reported. 

Farage has now asked the BBC for an apology and urged it to correct a story from its business editor, Simon Jack, which said that Farage’s accounts had been closed for commercial reasons. Jack had cited “people familiar with Coutts’ move” for the piece. 

The 36-page dossier that Farage was sent by the bank explained that although he was a perfect commercial customer, his values “did not align” with Coutts’ values due to his support of Brexit and Trump, among other things. The dossier also claimed he was seen as “xenophobic and racist” and cited his friendship with tennis star, Novak Djokovic, and the retweeting of a joke by Ricky Gervais as evidence that his values did not align with those of the bank. 

But it may well be that Farage’s values align with those of Dave Fishwick, founder of the Bank of Dave, who wrote an article in the Daily Mail recently in which he invited him to sit down and discuss the situation.

As Fishwick wrote, he set up the bank – which is not actually a bank but the Burnley Savings and Loans company – because he was so appalled by the service that the high street banks were offering to customers.

But even he could not anticipate that banks would become so obsessed with proving their EDI credentials that they would shut down the accounts of people the banks disagreed with. 

The Hound has heard that Dave and Nigel are meeting soon and looks forward to the sequel to the great Netflix film about his quest to set up a local bank. You heard it here first: The Bank of Dave and Nigel. 

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