NatWest boss Dame Alison Rose has resigned from her position as chief executive after she admitted to being the source of an inaccurate story about Nigel Farage’s expenses.
The move comes hours after Dame Alison faced calls to step down from a number of Tory MPs, and Downing Street and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt were understood to have “significant concerns” about her position.
Howard Davies, chairman of the NatWest Group Board, said in a statement: “The Board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she will step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It is a sad moment.
“She has dedicated all her working life so far to NatWest and will leave many colleagues who respect and admire her.”
Dame Alison said: “I remain immensely proud of the progress the bank has made in supporting people, families and business across the UK, and building the foundations for sustainable growth.
“My NatWest colleagues are central to that success, and so I would like to personally thank them for all that they have done.”
Paul Thwaite, the current chief executive of the company’s Commercial and Institutional business, will take over Dame Alison’s role for an initial period of 12 months, pending regulatory approval, the board added.
In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Dame Alison said that “in my conversations with Simon Jack of the BBC, I made a serious error of judgment in discussing Mr Farage’s relationship with the bank.” She also denied that she had revealed “any personal financial information about Mr Farage”.
Mr Farage alleged earlier this month that his account had been closed for political reasons, but an article published by BBC News business editor, Simon Jack, had called his claims into question – citing senior sources who claimed that Mr Farage’s account was terminated because he no longer met the financial requirements for an account at Coutts, which caters to the mega-wealthy.
However, Mr Farage later obtained an internal report from Coutts that highlighted additional factors, including concerns over what was described as “xenophobic and racist” views and alleged ties to Russia.
The BBC and Mr Jack issued an apology to the former Brexit Party leader on Monday, with the journalist suggesting that his information “came from a trusted and senior source” but “turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate”.
- This is a breaking news story and will be updated