If Twitter feeds are to be believed, then Lord Hill may be in trouble. On the day that David Cameron sought to take back control of the political agenda in Birmingham, he may not have paid sufficient attention to the fact that his European Commissioner nominee, Lord Hill, was far less prepared for his own, less rapturous, audience in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels.
Lord Hill is a lobbyist by background, and should have known that MEPs were going to be all fired up to nail him if he was unable to demonstrate a clear grasp of his subject. The Independent is commenting that Lord Hill took a ‘Hugh Grant’ approach to the hearing, which is all well and good if you are lining yourself up for a BAFTA, but not necessarily the way to do it if MEPs are asking you detailed questions on Eurobonds, which he was simply unable to answer.
Overall it seems that MEPs were unimpressed and there are moves afoot for Lord Hill to face a second parliamentary hearing with the same committee next week, which would represent a severe humiliation to David Cameron. If Lord Hill does have to face the music a second time, and if MEPs were still unhappy with his performance, then he would either have to be re-shuffled to another portfolio or have his candidature withdrawn entirely. This is the only chance that the UK will have to get the financial services portfolio for years, so Lord Hill may need to do some homework, and fast.