The Governor of the Bank of England has been accused of making pro-European Union (EU) comments that are “beneath the dignity” of his office.
Appearing before the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee, Mark Carney was grilled by Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Bank’s preparations for Brexit, and the implications of for the UK economy.
Despite insisting the Bank would take a neutral stance during the referendum, Mr Carney was accused of playing into the hands of the “Remain” campaign.
The Daily Mail reports that Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised Mr Carney’s approach in an exchange over the benefits of EU membership.
Mr Carney told MPs: “There is a reason why a substantial proportion more global banks, more internationally active banks are head quartered in London than any other European country or all other European countries combined.
“That’s partly because of the cluster of expertise that it here but also in many cases… that is because of the passporting ability of this economy in terms of the activity.”
However, Mr Rees-Mogg responded: “This is what I think is doing your reputation and the reputation of the Bank of England harm – you are coming out with the standard statements of the pro-EU group.
“The statements you make about the dynamism of the economy could just as well refer to reforms introduced by Margaret Thatcher.
“It is speculative and beneath the dignity of the Bank of England to be making speculative pro-EU comments.”
Mr Carney said: “I am not going to let that stand,” before insisting his assessment was correct, and that the language he had used was “careful”.
He later said that EU membership “reinforces the dynamism of the UK economy” but said potential new rules around the euro currency union represented a risk of staying in the EU.
The Bank of England was earlier accused of scaremongering after pledging to offer emergency cash to Britain’s biggest lenders to head off a banking crisis in the run up to the referendum.
The Bank insisted it was not predicting economic meltdown in the case of Brexit, but Brexit supporters seized on the plans and questioned the need for such an announcement.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The timing is suspicious. The influence of the governor of the Bank of England depends crucially on his political impartiality.
“Whenever he wanders from his brief into the political field he risks devaluing his own currency.”