Bank of England’s Carney Doing ‘Excellent Job,’ Ex-Critic Gove Says

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s stark comments on the dangers of a no-deal Brexit raised the ire of euroskeptics last week. But Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a key figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union and a past critic of Carney, now says he’s a fan.

“He’s doing a very good job,” Gove said in an interview on the BBC. “I regard him not only as truly independent, I regard him as a first-rate public servant who’s doing an excellent job.”

Bank of England’s Carney Doing ‘Excellent Job,’ Ex-Critic Gove Says

Gove’s latest view marks a pronounced change from the criticism he expressed two years ago. “Mark Carney may be many things but -- like the rest of us -- he is neither always infallible nor truly independent,” Gove said in October 2016.

Carney was rarely out of the headlines last week, starting when the government announced his term would be extended for seven months to smooth the U.K.’s departure from the EU. He then joined a Cabinet meeting that was convened to discuss planning for what happens if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal. He outlined worst-case scenarios used by the central bank, including house prices tumbling, a falling pound and higher trade tariffs.

Carney’s interventions on Brexit have frequently stirred controversy, especially among the most ardent supporters of leaving the EU. Brexit purist Jacob Rees-Mogg has called him the “high priest of project fear.”

Gove said the governor had outlined the figures used in the bank’s stress test and that Carney was “very clear” that they weren’t intended as a forecast.

A no-deal Brexit “is not going to be the end of the world, Britain will get through it,” Gove said, citing World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo’s comments last month. “There are many, many things we can do to strengthen our economy, but it’s also not going to be a walk in the park either.”

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