With Mark Carney stepping down from his role as governor of the Bank of England in 2019, it’s been widely reported that relations between Carney and Theresa May are strained. As James Forsyth writes in The Spectator, the Prime Minister managed to rub Carney up the wrong way with her Conservative conference speech when she appeared to criticise central banks and citizens of the world.
At today’s Treasury select committee, Carney denied that May’s comments played a role in his decision to extend his contract by just 12 months. He did, however, appear to take a swipe at May over her choice words. When Andrew Tyrie — the committee chair — pointed out that May and Donald Trump shared common ground in their criticism of banks, he replied that politicians who complain about low rates in central banks are guilty of a ‘massive blame deflection exercise’:
‘It’s very important to distinguish between the stance of monetary policy and the reasons why global interest rates are low, the reasons why inequality has increased across major economics.
Those are caused by much more fundamental factors. And an excessive focus on monetary policy in many respects is a massive blame deflection exercise.’
While Carney provided some cheer by inviting the entire select committee to the Bank of England Christmas party, his answers to questions veered on the gloomy side. While Carney said it was too early for firms to trigger contingency plans, he did claim City firms could start executing plans to leave London as early as autumn 2017 — if they were dissatisfied by the early outline of the government’s Brexit deal.