Stephen Hester’s decision to waive his bonus, revealed by Robert Peston just after 10 o’clock, will be a source of great relief to David Cameron and George Osborne. A story that could have dragged on for weeks, undermining their argument about fairness has just lost most of its potency. Ed Miliband, though, will be able to claim — with some justification — that it was the threat of a Commons vote on the matter that led to Hester renouncing his bonus.
But this isn’t quite the end of this business. There’s now the question of what happens to the bonuses for other members of staff at RBS and then there is next year’s round.
There’s also the whole issue of RBS’ status. Now that the bank is going to remain majority taxpayer-owned for the foreseeable future, there needs to be more thought put in to how it should be run and how its senior staff should be compensated.