One of the most respected figures in British economics has made a last-minute appeal for Brexit sanity, pointing the way forward to a managed no-deal full Brexit while dismissing politicians suffering from collective “nervous breakdown” and project fear claims that do not reflect reality.
Speaking this morning, just hours before the legal deadline that the British prime minister repeatedly promised would be the moment the United Kingdom left the European Union before changing her mind at the last minute, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King has called for a full Brexit and for politicians to reject Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
The former governor of the Bank of England, Lord King says Britain should leave the EU without a deal and tell the EU it needs time to prepare #r4today https://t.co/nhfnK7I9w8 pic.twitter.com/7aYgSyRHnR
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) March 29, 2019
Lord King, who was governor of the United Kingdom’s central bank between 2003 and 2013, was absolutely scathing of Britain’s political class in his remarks to the BBC, which despite being made on the UK’s state broadcaster’s flagship politics show have been mostly ignored by the British mainstream media, remarking that “incompetence seems to have spread beyond government to Parliament as a whole. The fact they can’t make a decision, is extraordinary.”
Perhaps his harshest criticism was of Parliament’s inability to grasp the reasons why Brexit gained support across the United Kingdom, leaving the respected economist to reflect: “I think that MPs have somehow lost the plot.
“When you hear about people talking about the consequences of leaving without a deal as ‘national suicide’, I wonder whether the political class hasn’t suffered a collective nervous breakdown and lost confidence in the country.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 26, 2016
Criticising the government’s failure to negotiate with the European Union, and in particular hobbling itself with the unwillingness to keep no deal on the table as a credible option, Lord King said the way forward now was to tell the European Union that the country would be leaving without a deal six months hence — or an amount of time long enough to give the government and business enough time to prepare.
To the clear amazement of BBC interviewer John Humprys, King said:
My own personal preference would be to go back to Europe and say we have a clear strategy which is we want to leave without a deal. But we would like to take six months to complete the preparations to avoid the dislocation… I would like to see us say that we will leave without a deal, a certain distance ahead, which would give the country time to make those preparations and then I think we’d be in a much stronger situation.
Batting back the suggestion from the BBC interviewer that a hard Brexit would lead to job losses, Lord King said:
I don’t think it’s obvious there would be jobs lost at all. If you look at what’s happened since the referendum, we were told there would be a recession if we voted to leave, but what’s actually happened is that the British economy has grown since the referendum by slightly more than Germany.
The idea that voting to leave is an economic disaster doesn’t match the facts. If you look at the exchange rates of (£) sterling… it’s exactly the same this week, as when I left the Bank of England in the middle of 2013.
The comments follow others by King in 2018, when he accused an “incompetent” government of delivering a “Brexit in name only”. He said that both the UK and the EU would want a free trade deal, but if Europe was not willing to be reasonable then leaving without a deal would be best for Britain.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 6, 2017