Industry

EU forced to admit it needs City in Brexit U-turn – but Rejoiner 'hatred is getting worse'


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would squander the benefits of Brexit by cosying up to the EU and “watering things down”, a City analyst has claimed in a fresh warning to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. And David Buik has warned: “The Remainer hatred of Brexit is not going away – it’s getting worse.”

Mr Buik, who has in the past worked for RP Martin, Kirkland Whitaker and London Deposit Agencies and who is a regular commentator on BBC, was speaking after the publication of an EU report during which it admitted it needed the City – despite widespread claims that European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt were poised to usurp it as the continent’s most important financial centres. Doom-laden predictions about the Square Mile were a central feature of Remain’s strategy during the 2016 referendum campaign, he explained.

He said: “When it comes to Project Fear, I got very cross about it and I made that pretty clear. But I think having had time to reflect, that if I had been part of the Remain camp, I probably would have done the same thing.

Brexit is in my opinion a wonderful opportunity for what I call medium-sized enterprises. They’re the people that eventually are going to really do well out of this, although it might be when I’m pushing up daisies.”

Referring to the genesis of the phrase, he continued: “George Osborne was the person who coined the phrase Project Fear, or it was coined as a result of comments he made, I think that’s fair. I think I’d have adopted the same thing, but it actually turned out to be incredibly negative.

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“And I think the thing that I talk to people like Catherine McBride, who is wonderful, and she’s made it very clear that the hatred amongst Remainers is getting worse and it’s really counterproductive for the whole country.” Unfortunately, as a result of COVID and “geopolitical issues” in Ukraine in the Middle East Prime Minister Mr Sunak’s government, had not been sufficiently focused on delivering the benefits of severing ties with the bloc, Mr Buik said.

He continued: “Whether it’s just in the last year of this Government they need to do it. Because there is a very strong feeling that if Keir Starmer gets into office, and I think that’s highly likely, he will just water things down, and I think it’d be a waste of 10 years.”

A report on the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement published by the European Parliament last month notes that the deal offers the EU “an opportunity to develop and strengthen its own financial services infrastructure and expertise in order to promote business competitiveness, investment, economic stability and consumer protection”. Significantly, it “acknowledges that the City of London remains a global centre for financial services with a global reach that EU business could benefit from accessing” and “recognises the importance of a strong financial services sector for both the EU and the UK and supports efforts to enhance the EU’s financial services infrastructure and expertise”.

Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall on November 13, Mr Sunak argued the City had a crucial role to play when it came to the war raging in Europe. He said: “Together we’ll strengthen Ukraine’s defence and boost their economy so they can thrive even while they fight to regain their territory.

“And, to do so, Ukraine needs the City of London. It needs all of you, it needs expertise and capital – and war risk insurance to support trade and investment and keep the ships moving. I know you’ll deliver.”



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