- Peter Nicholls/Reuters
- A leading Conservative Brexiteer advised investors to pull their money out of the UK.
- Labour accuse veteran MP John Redwood of “talking Britain down.”
LONDON – A leading Brexiteer has been accused of “talking down Britain” after he advised investors to pull money out of the UK because of the state of the economy.
Veteran Conservative MP and leading pro-Brexit campaigner John Redwood wrote a column for the Financial Times at the beginning of November telling readers to “look further afield” than Britain.
Redwood has a second job as chief global strategist for Charles Stanley, for which he earns £180,000 a year, and is notorious for his lengthy opposition to Britain’s membership of the European Union.
The article was publicised after a Forbes columnist, France Coppola, launched a withering attack on Redwood, writing he had “advocated a course of action by the UK government that he knows would seriously damage the UK economy,” in supporting “hard” Brexit.
Coppola wrote: “To protect his job as an investment manager, he warned his wealthy clients to get their money out before the disaster hits. To me, this smacks of disaster capitalism. Engineer a crash while ensuring your own interests are protected, then clean up when it hits.
“This is despicable behaviour by a lawmaker. The Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP is putting his own interests above those he represents. He is unfit to hold office. He should resign.”
Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasure Peter Dowd said: “This is yet another Tory MP openly admitting the chancellor’s poor record on the economy means we need to change course in the budget, proving yet again that they are clearly losing the economic argument.
“Even worse than other calls from Tory MPs is the fact that this one is talking down Britain and encouraging investors to invest in other countries instead. It speaks volumes for the government’s bungling of the Brexit negotiations, and their mismanagement of our economy.”
Redwood did not mention Brexit in his advice article, but criticised the Bank of England for being “gripped by a fashionable British pessimism.”
He said: “The Bank of England is busily arguing with itself,” while other central banks and countries are finding ways to promote growth including the European Central Bank.
The Conservative MP wrote: “Money could be better put to work in places where the authorities are allowing credit to expand a bit, to permit faster growth.”
The Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake accused Redwood of “sheer hypocrisy.”
Brake said: “He is advising investors to move their money out of the UK, all the while pushing in parliament for a destructive hard Brexit that would see even more investment desert the country.”
“Major investors may be able to move their money abroad, but it is ordinary people who will suffer from the impact of a hard Brexit on jobs and living standards. The fact that even arch-Brexiteers are now losing confidence in Brexit Britain shows why we must give people a chance to think again and, if they choose to, stay in the EU.”