Bank of England chief is 'enemy of Brexit', says Jacob Rees-Mogg

Conservative backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has described the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, as an “enemy of Brexit”.

The Eurosceptic MP, whose appearances at the Conservative conference in Manchester last month drew large crowds, said Carney had been “consistently wrong” about the economic impact of the EU referendum.

Speaking to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live, Rees-Mogg said: “Mark Carney has consistently complained about the Brexit vote and the result. He said before the Brexit vote there would be a sharp downturn in the economy because of Brexit, he had a panic interest rate cut that was completely unnecessary and helped push the pound down further than it would otherwise have gone.”

He added: “Mark Carney is one of the enemies of Brexit. He has opposed it consistently.”

Carney, the Canadian central banker who was handpicked in 2012 for his role at the Bank by George Osborne when chancellor, warned about the economic risks of Brexit during last year’s referendum campaign. He endured tough questioning from the Treasury select committee, of which Rees-Mogg was then a member.

Rees-Mogg suggested it was good news that sterling had declined on foreign exchanges since last year’s vote, saying: “The fall of the pound is one of the automatic stabilisers in the economy. The fall of the pound has helped the economy.”

He added: “Mark Carney has opposed Brexit the whole way through, and is an enemy of Brexit. There is no doubt about that. He’s shamed his role because he’s become a partisan. He quite disgracefully intervened in the referendum campaign, by giving forecasts one way or another.”

Carney and several fellow members of the Bank’s monetary policy committee have signalled in recent weeks that they expect to increase interest rates from their record low of 0.25% – perhaps as soon as next month – to tackle rising inflation.

Inflation is running well above the Bank’s 2% target, hitting 3% in September, driven in part by the decline in sterling, which increases the costs of imported goods.

Rees-Mogg also took aim at the BBC for presenting an unbalanced view of Britain’s prospects outside the EU. “The BBC always wants to blame things on Brexit. I’m not saying this is a conspiracy, I’m saying it is a fact of life,” he said.

Labour’s leftwing grassroots group Momentum announced on Wednesday that it planned to target Rees-Mogg in its next campaign day aimed at unseating prominent Conservative MPs. Rees-Mogg has a 10,000 majority in his North East Somerset constituency.

Momentum said that he was being targeted because he was a favourite among Conservative members to succeed Theresa May as leader. The group also highlighted his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and referring to the rise of food bank usage as “uplifting”.

The group said Labour could win the seat from Rees-Mogg with a swing of around 9%, similar to the swings that resulted in Labour candidates winning seats in Canterbury, Brighton Kemptown and Battersea in the 2017 general election.

Other seats being targeted by Momentum over the coming months include those of the home secretary, Amber Rudd, the education secretary, Justine Greening, the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, all of whose majorities were significantly diminished in June.

Emma Rees, Momentum’s national coordinator, said she believed a targeted ground campaign could win Rees-Mogg’s seat for Labour. “From opposing equal rights for LGBTQ people to opposing women’s right to choose – even when they’ve been raped – his views belong in the 18th century,” she said.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Heather Stewart Political editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 25th October 2017 15.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010