Brexit: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney urges more clarity over EU withdrawal plans

Call for greater certainty represents an oblique criticism of the Government’s approach to negotiations.

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The Independent Online

Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, called for a “degree of clarity” in the country’s approach to Brexit after an increasingly muddled approach from Theresa May’s government.

Carney said: “It is preferable that firms know as much as possible about the desired endpoint, and as early as possible about the potential path about that endpoint.”

“Having a degree of clarity, when appropriate, will help promote a smooth and orderly transition.”

The comments came after the Bank published its twice-yearly Financial Stability Report -  the first to properly assess the impact of the decision to leave the EU.

The outlook for the UK financial system “remains challenging” and risks “remain elevated”, because of the Brexit vote, the report said. 

Carney also emphasised the crucial importance of the financial sector to the UK economy and the potential damage a disorderly break with the EU could cause. “The United Kingdom is effectively the investment banker for Europe,” he said.

Though Carney’s role as Bank of England Governor is not political, the call for clarity represents an oblique criticism of the uncertainty that has characterised the Government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations.

Prime Minister Theresa May has drawn mockery - even among her own party - for repeating the line “Brexit means Brexit”, but adding little detail when probed about what that means in practice. 

May has said she will not give a “running commentary” on the Government's Brexit plans because she does not want to show Britain's hand, but many have interpreted this as simply meaning that there is in fact no plan.

An embarrassing memo leaked on Tuesday that suggested the Government wanted to “have its cake and eat it” over Brexit” suggested some in the Conservative party believe the current strategy of attempting to restrict movement of people but maintain access to the single market is unrealistic. Several high profile EU figures have made clear that such a deal is not an option.

Responding to the memo, Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg said: “They [the British Government] want to have their cake, eat it, and get a smile from the baker, but not the other things. There are European values which cannot be separated. No cherry picking.