Alison Rose, the first female head of a big UK bank, resigned abruptly last night as CEO of NatWest after admitting she was the source for an erroneous BBC report about the closure of Nigel Farage’s account at NatWest’s Coutts subsidiary. The story of Farage’s Coutts account began as a strange tale of snobbery and nose-holding: he was the rabble-rouser behind Brexit; it was the banker to royals and heaven knows who else that requires, or pretends to require, a minimum balance of £1 million for all its customers. When Farage’s account was closed earlier this year he said it was because of his political views. The bank denied it, and so did Rose in an interview with the BBC’s Simon Jack. It turns out she misspoke. Also, there’s a strong consensus in the UK government that political opinions shouldn’t be grounds for de-banking – and the UK government has been NatWest’s biggest shareholder since bailing it out in 2008. Downing Street expressed “concern” late yesterday about Rose’s inaccurate account of the affair. Her resignation was announced at 2am. The question of Farage’s true net worth is unresolved.
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