Sunday 16 December 2018

May cuts holiday short in bid to gain Macron's backing

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron in Fort de Brégançon. Picture: Reuters
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron in Fort de Brégançon. Picture: Reuters

David Hughes

Theresa May has met Emmanuel Macron for talks on Brexit as the clock ticks down for a breakthrough in the process.

The British prime minister visited the French president's summer retreat in the south of France yesterday, breaking in to her own holiday in order to try to find support for her Brexit blueprint.

Her visit to Fort de Brégançon followed fresh warnings about the economic impact of the failure to reach a deal on the UK's departure from the European Union.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is "uncomfortably high" and will lead to higher prices.

He said both the UK and EU should "do all things to avoid" a no-deal scenario.

Shock

He added that the banks have done the "stockpiling" and the UK's financial system is in a position to be able to "withstand a shock" which could result from the country leaving the EU without an agreement.

Mr Carney, appearing on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, said: "I think the possibility of a no deal is uncomfortably high at this point." Asked if no deal would be a disaster, Mr Carney said: "It is highly undesirable. Parties should do all things to avoid it."

Pushed on what no deal would mean for people, Mr Carney said: "Disruption to trade as we know it", before adding: "As a consequence of that, a disruption to the level of economic activity, higher prices for a period of time.

"Our job at the Bank of England is to make sure those issues don't happen in the financial system so that people will have things to worry about in a no-deal Brexit, which is still a relatively unlikely possibility but it is a possibility, but what we don't want to have is people worrying about their money in the bank, whether or not they can get a loan from the bank - whether for a mortgage or for a business idea - and we have put the banks through the wringer well in advance of this to make sure they have the capital."

Mrs May cut short her break in the Italian lakes a day early to attend the hastily arranged talks with Mr Macron.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business