Donald MacLeod: A pair of dogged MPs show our pussycat PM how to take on the fat cats

Frank Field, above, and Ian Blackford deserve our respect, says Donald (Anthony Devlin / PA Archive)

IT’S not often that I praise the efforts of MPs.

In fact, it’s as rare as the BBC getting the weather forecast right.

However, this week there are two MPs who deserve a special mention.

Labour’s Frank Ernest Field and the SNP’s Ian Blackford.

Frank is old-school Labour. Polite and quietly spoken, but a determined champion of the working class and a vocal critic of big-business greed.

And he was at his earnest best this week when he co-chaired the parliamentary business select committee and mercilessly grilled the fat cat bosses of Carillion, the construction company which went bust last month with debts of £3.2 billion.

I doubt you’d find a shadier looking bunch in the Old Bailey.

They squirmed so much under Frank’s glare, Carillion’s chairman Philip Green apologised for his part in the company’s shameful demise. However, he was the only one.

The other execs, branded delusional characters by the committee, did not.

This enquiry has got a long way to go, but in Frank Field, I’m satisfied we have the right man in place to see justice served.

A different matter but one which also has greed, excess and callous indifference to the plight of others at its heart, is the disgraceful RBS branch closures.

The SNP’s Ian Blackford MP deserves special praise for his dogged efforts to open dialogue with the bank.

After a series of meetings with Ian, the RBS will now allow 10 of the 62 branches facing closure to remain open, if only until the end of the year when a final decision on their future will be made.

It was rare piece of good news, but this is a cynical face-saving exercise from a bank, owned by the tax payer, which spends millions more on sponsoring international rugby than it does on keeping branches open, and who are given carte blanche to do what they want by a Tory Government which refuses to intervene.

Still, Ian Blackford should be given a huge amount of credit for his efforts. He put his head above the parapet, and possibly his political career on the line, with his decision to speak to the RBS.

But 52 branches still face imminent closure.

And if we are to stop that happening then it will need more than just the valiant efforts of Ian Blackford, it will need all of our MPs.

Especially Theresa May.

How she can condone these closures, and show indifference to the slow death of the rural communities when she holds the tax payer’s keys to the RBS safe and could stop their purge of our High Streets beats me.

As for the rest, especially the very vocal opposition benches, I wish they would stop their greeting and join Ian.

Then they could direct their venom and vitriol at where it belongs, the RBS.

If MPs unite and fight these closures they will win the war – and the nation’s respect.