Bank of England Governor Mervyn King fired his final parting shot at the banks today as he attacked lenders for their intense political lobbying against tougher balance sheet rules.

Mr King made his last appearance in front of MPs on the Treasury Select Committee before he hands over the reins next week.

The Bank of England governor said banks sought to put "tremendous pressure" on politicians at the highest levels to lean on regulators to water down demands to raise capital strength.

He said there were "certainly calls made to Number 11 (Downing Street) and even in some cases Number 10" to put pressure on the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The City watchdog last week told banks they must stump up another £13.4 billion sterling to plug a higher-than-expected £27.1 billion hole in their finances under plans to ensure bank finances are strong enough to withstand future shocks.

"Very often it was the first response" by banks to call politicians following confidential discussions with regulators, Mr King added. He praised the PRA for maintaining its independence, but said lobbying must stop.

Mr King - who will hand over to successor Mark Carney on Monday - also hit out at governments worldwide for failing to take advantage of the opportunity offered by massive money-printing programmes to rebalance their economies.

He also said the UK was not near the point where QE could be unwound and called on the British government to take steps to rebalance the economy and address the trade gap while still supported by monetary efforts.

Mr King, who was outvoted once more this month in his call to extend quantitative easing (QE) by £25 billion to £400 billion, said the UK recovery was "too weak to be satisfactory" despite mounting signs of improvements in key sectors.

He also warned troubles in the wider global economy remained a risk to the UK, with the unfolding credit crunch in China "really quite significant" and the euro zone still battling debt woes.

Stock markets worldwide have been hammered in recent weeks amid fears over America's plans to start tapering its QE drive, compounded by the credit squeeze in China.

The Bank told the cross party committee it would be "careful and cautious" about unwinding QE, but stressed it was far too premature to consider reducing the programme or raising interest rates.

Jane Austen favourite for £10 note

Novelist Jane Austen is the leading candidate to replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note, outgoing Bank of England governor Mervyn King has revealed.

The author of literary classics such as Pride And Prejudice and Sense And Sensibility has been picked as the so-called "contingency candidate" to appear on notes.

Mr King told MPs that she was "quietly waiting in the wings" and was in pole position to appear on the £10 note as and when the notes are changed.

His comments follow a row over the choice of Winston Churchill to appear on £5 notes in place of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry - one of only two women selected since historical figures were introduced in 1970.

The decision to use the wartime leader in April led to an online petition and the threat of potential legal action under the Equality Act.

The Bank said earlier this month that a mystery woman had been drawn up as a contingency, but her identity had not been revealed until today. It has not yet made a decision on when the £10 note will be changed.