King Slams Brexit Deal in Column Decrying May’s ‘Incompetence’

(Bloomberg) -- Former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King accused Prime Minister Theresa May’s government of “incompetence of a high order” for negotiating a Brexit deal that is the “worst of all worlds.”

In a column for Bloomberg Opinion published on Tuesday, King urged lawmakers to reject the withdrawal pact with the European Union and also took issue with the Bank of England’s economic projections.

“If this deal is not abandoned, I believe that the U.K. will end up abrogating it unilaterally — regardless of the grave damage that would do to Britain’s reputation and standing,” King wrote. “Vassal states do not go gently into that good night. They rage.”

The intervention into politics by the former central banker, who now sits in the House of Lords, is one of a handful he has made since the 2016 referendum. He lamented that no-one has prepared for a fall-back position of trading without an EU deal, as he previously called for.

Just hours after the publication of King’s words, his successor at the Bank of England, Mark Carney, was due to testify on his outlook published last week that crashing out of the EU with no withdrawal deal could provoke an economic slump and a collapse in the pound.

King took a swipe at the bank, casting doubt on that worst-case scenario for relying on weaker productivity and a long-term disruption at borders, both of which were unlikely. It “saddens me to see the Bank of England unnecessarily drawn into this project,” he said.

“Before the referendum, official economic projections intended to scare the country into voting Remain didn’t succeed,” King said “Based on flimsy and arbitrary assumptions, they were subsequently proved wrong. The same strategy has resurfaced.”

May is struggling to muster support for her deal in Parliament before a vote as soon as next week.

King said it “simply beggars belief that a government could be hell-bent on a deal that hands over 39 billion pounds ($50 billion), while giving the EU both the right to impose laws on the U.K. indefinitely and a veto on ending this state of fiefdom.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.