A veteran Tory MP who has been one of the most prominent cheerleaders for the UK quitting the EU has faced fierce criticism for urging investors to move their money away from the UK while also backing a ‘hard’ Brexit.
Earlier this month, John Redwood, the MP for Wokingham and former banker, wrote a column for the Financial Times titled: “Look further afield as UK hits the brakes.”
Redwood, who as well as being a Member of Parliament earns £180,000-a-year as chairman of an investment committee for the Charles Stanley Group, suggests the European Central Bank will pave way the way for more fruitful investments than the Bank of England.
The column was published on November 3, but was roundly criticised on Sunday after being the subject of a blog by Forbes magazine writer, Frances Coppola.
Redwood has long argued the UK economy will flourish after quitting the EU, and has argued the British public will be well-catered for by UK-produced cars, wine and cheese in the event the EU imposes high import tariffs post-Brexit.
In his piece, the veteran MP and former Cabinet minister compares the European Central Bank’s measures to “promote faster growth” - no rises in interest rates for the foreseeable future, a money creation and bond-buying programme - to the Bank of England, which is “busily arguing with itself”.
While Coppola agrees with Redwood’s broader point that the UK is facing a sharp slowdown, she points out that “he does not mention Brexit” before giving “advice to investors to flee the UK before the credit crunch bites”.
“It is an absolute disgrace for this man to give such advice,” she adds, arguing he is “a senior member of the Conservative Party, which is currently in government and making a total hash of the Brexit negotiations”.
She points out his FT profile makes no mention of his job as an MP. “After all, telling investors not to invest in the UK is hardly patriotic, is it?,” she notes.
The writer then points out how Redwood a week later “told the UK government to go for ‘hard Brexit’” - in the tweet below - amid a UK-EU deadlock over trade talks.
Coppola argues ‘hard Brexit’ would mean “an immediate deep recession for the UK and permanently lower living standards for many of its citizens”, and goes on to accuse Redwood of trying to “protect his job as an investment manager” by warning his “wealthy clients to get their money out before the disaster hits”.
The writer finishes:
“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.”
The response to the column on social media was unforgiving.
Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake called the column “sheer hypocrisy”, telling the Guardian: “[Redwood] 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.”