TheCityUK, which represents Britain’s financial sector, warned Brexit would be a disaster before the country’s referendum on membership of the European Union (EU). Seven months after the vote, the lobby group has made a spectacular u-turn, declaring it is “a strong believer in the potential opportunities that the UK’s departure from the European Union will offer”.
The group provoked ridicule from Leave campaigners during the referendum when it claimed Brexit could leave the UK in the same position as Bolivia, an impoverished South American nation where child labour is legal.
The Telegraph reports the body now believes strongly in the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” which Brexit represents, particularly with respect to that fact that, “for first time in 40-plus years”, the UK can “have an independent trade and investment policy.”
The change of stance comes shortly after U.S. President Donald J. Trump praised the British public for voting to leave the EU, telling a press conference that “Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing for your country … you’re going to be able to make free trade deals without someone watching you and what you’re doing”.
Trump was alluding to the fact that EU member-states are not allowed to strike trade deals on their own initiative, having to rely on Brussels to broker agreements on behalf of the entire bloc instead. The Trump administration is thought to be extremely keen on rapidly concluding an Anglo-American trade pact after Brexit, as are Australia, New Zealand and many other global economies.
Ewen Stewart, a director at the Global Britain think tank and one of Scotland’s leading economists, told Breitbart London he was “delighted” to see TheCityUK had “finally accepted” Brexit’s upside potential.
“It is clear the City will prosper outside the EU,” he said. “How could it not? It is absurd to think being tied to a manifestly failing Eurozone could be the right course for the UK. The City prospered well before the EU [and] can easily reboot itself to prosper outside the EU.”
Leave Means Leave co-chairman Richard Tice also welcomed the lobby group’s about-face, telling Breitbart London he was “very pleased” to see it was “embracing the leadership shown by us Brexiteers” and beginning to “play a constructive role in preparing the economy for the bright future which lies ahead of us as a free-standing and independent trading nation”.