POLITICS
26/11/2013 08:39 GMT | Updated 26/11/2013 08:53 GMT

Mark Carney 'Offended' By Accusation He Is Too Close To George Osborne

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Bank of England Governor Mark Carney attends the bank's quarterly inflation report news conference at the Bank of England in London, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Carney said unemployment in Britain is falling faster than anticipated, raising speculation in the markets that interest rates may start rising sooner than expected. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has angrily denied suggestions by a Labour MP that he is too close to George Osborne and presents an artificially "rosier picture" of the economic recovery.

Carney admitted to being "more than mildly offended" by Treasury select commitee John Mann, who took issue with the statistics used by the Bank governor to suggest the UK was enjoying the "strongest rate [of recovery]" out of the other major economies.

Drawing a contrast with Carney's predecessor Lord King, Mann said: "Households are borrowing more both secured and unsecured debt, businesses are investing less and yet you're there saying we are the world leader amongst comparative economies.

Mann accused Carney of being "more selective" than Lord King with the economic timelines of measures like household debt in order to present a "rosier picture". He added: "Aren't you in danger of being too close to the chancellor and acting as a politician rather than the Bank of England?"

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In response, Carney said he was "more than mildly offended by the thrust of the question", adding: "What I'm here describing today is inflation at 2.2%, jobs being created in the private sector, an economy that is growing from a weak base but is growing at the fastest rate of the advanced economies. I fail to see why that is not relevant."

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Carney with George Osborne at annual IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington

Mann also asked Carney for a "frank" answer on if he had any political ambitions, given that the Canadian governor has been hotly-tipped as a contender to be Canada's next prime minister.

Carney shot back: "No', prompting Mann to press: "None whatsoever?"

"None whatsoever", the Bank of England governor insisted.