The Lord Mayor of London, an influential figure in the UK’s financial sector, has said that increasingly vocal political pressure for the UK to hold a second referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union or on the terms of the UK’s departure is “wasted breath”.
In a speech to the New Economic Forum in Madrid on Wednesday morning, Charles Bowman will back the UK government’s call for a bespoke deal with the EU covering financial services.
Bowman, who acts as an ambassador and spokesman for the UK’s financial and professional services sector, will say that aiming for a model of mutual access, regulatory alignment, supervisory co-operation and dispute resolution would “not cross any key criteria set out by the UK or the EU” and would “represent a true win-win for Europe”.
He will also say that there is “no appetite to slash regulation after Brexit and that this would be a bad outcome for the UK, for Europe and for the world”.
Bowman’s comments come just a week after the country’s opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn gave into pressure from the centrist wing of the party to allow the UK to remain a member of the EU’s customs union.
However the Labour party remains ambivalent on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU’s single market, through which the UK’s financial services industry is able to sell services across the 28-country bloc.
At the weekend UK prime minister Theresa May ruled out any attempt to keep valuable ‘passporting’ rights for financial services after the country leaves the EU.
However, it is far from clear whether Brussels will accept the UK’s most recent proposals which many in the European institutions believe amount to ‘cherry picking’ the best aspects of EU membership.
In a separate development, the UK’s Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) has called for a transition period with a flexible end-date, which should only be decided once the terms of a post-Brexit trade deal have been finalised.
PIMFA deputy chief executive John Barrass said: “It is essential for flexibility to be built into the timing of the end of transition so that a bespoke EU-UK agreement, with proper and agreed divergence management, can be negotiated to the advantage of all.
“To do otherwise could be detrimental to the quality of what is being agreed and have an adverse effect on businesses and citizens in both the UK and elsewhere in the EU.”
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