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Ex-Bank of England Boss: ‘Incompetent’ UK Government Delivering ‘Brexit in Name Only’

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LIAM DEACON

The UK could be heading for ‘Brexit in name only’, which would be the worst of all worlds, because of government and civil service “incompetence” and weak handling of divorce talks, the former Bank of England governor has said.

Lord Mervyn King — for years one of the biggest figures in the British economy — said it “beggars belief” that Britain, as one of the world’s leading economies, is being bullied and told it must take a particular course of action or face catastrophe, in damning comments to the BBC.

He said the government and civil service, which are perceived as pushing for a soft Brexit tied to EU rules, have failed to put in place a “credible” plan to walk away without a deal, leaving the UK without a “credible bargaining position”.

Mr King had said in 2016 that Brexit presents many opportunities for the UK, which should be “confident” in pursuing a clean break from the bloc, as well as criticising the anti-Brexit Project Fear campaign.

Speaking Tuesday night, he said a trade deal would be good for both sides but the UK should be much more confident and threaten to walk away with a clean ‘no deal’ Brexit if the bloc’s bureaucrats were uncooperative.

“A government that cannot take action to prevent some of these catastrophic outcomes illustrates a whole lack of preparation,” he blasted, explaining:

“We haven’t had a credible bargaining position, because we hadn’t put in place measures where we could say to our colleagues in Europe, ‘Look, we’d like a free-trade deal, we think that you would probably like one too, but if we can’t agree, don’t be under any misapprehension, we have put in place the measures that would enable us to leave without one.'”

A spokesman from the Department for Exiting the European Union insisted that getting a good deal was “by far the most likely outcome”.

“We have already made significant progress. The vast majority of the withdrawal agreement has now been agreed and we are making further progress on the outstanding separation issues,” they said.

Lord King was the chairman of the Bank of England, Britain’s equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve, between 2003 and 2013.

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