The Governor of the Bank of England today insisted that comments about the risks of Brexit made in March emerged after unanimous agreement from within the Financial Policy Committee and did not reflect pressures from Chancellor George Osborne.
Mark Carney, facing MPs this morning, said that as governor, he was not under pressure to side with the chancellor nor was there any attempt by the Bank to frighten the public into supporting the Remain campaign.
“I did not prejudge the lines of those policy committees, nor could I,” said Carney. “That’s not the way the system works. The chair doesn’t guide conclusions. It has robust discussions and what we should do to respond to those risks. We have an obligation to make these assessments. The debate can be about whether we made the right assessments, not whether we should have made the assessment.”
Writing in the Wall Street Journal this week, Osborne said: “There will be no immediate changes to our relationship with the EU, or the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold. Britain won’t be rushed; we will take our time to determine the trading arrangements with our European allies outside their political union. I want to see the best possible terms of trade in goods and services, including financial services.
“But having been the voice for free trade inside the EU, we now intend to be its voice across the world. For first time in 40 years, the UK will be setting its own trade terms. So we should begin the conversation now with the US, and with the members of the North American Free Trade Agreement, about how we can deliver even closer economic ties. Our economic trade ties with North America must now become stronger. My message is simple: Britain may be leaving the EU, but we are not withdrawing from the world. Britain will be a beacon for free trade, democracy and security, more open to that world than ever.”