Pressure on Carney to reveal if he will stay at BoE

Mark Carney is signalling a willingness to stay on as Bank of England governor beyond next year as he faces mounting pressure to reveal his intentions.

MPs on the Commons Treasury select committee said he would be challenged on Tuesday to clarify whether he would extend his term, keeping him in place to navigate the choppy waters of Brexit.

John Mann, a Labour MP and chair of its subcommittee, said: “The question will be asked . . . If he hasn’t got a significantly better offer, I expect him to stay on . . . I don’t think he wants to bail out at the crisis moment.”

The parliamentary hearing comes as people close to the governor told the Financial Times that Mr Carney had already indicated to the Treasury that he was willing to serve more of his term than he had previously stated.

The Bank of England declined to comment.

Mr Carney has been a persistent thorn in the side of Brexiters, recently warning of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit. He was widely praised for reassuring financial markets after the vote to leave the EU and has extensive international regulatory experience, having chaired the global Financial Stability Board since 2011.

Mr Carney was appointed for an eight-year term when he took the role in 2013, which should have ended in 2021. But he originally said the age of his children would prevent him from serving more than five years, before later agreeing to extend his tenure to six years. He currently plans to leave in July 2019, three months after Britain leaves the EU.

Mr Carney has given misleading signals of his intentions in the past. Asked in 2012 whether he wanted to become BoE governor, he said “no and never”, explaining later that the comments were true in his mind at the time.

The Treasury has let the process of appointing a new governor slip over the summer. Having indicated in the spring that it would advertise for a replacement in July, officials say the matter will be resolved over the next month or two.

Mr Mann said that, with the Treasury showing few signs of coming up with a replacement, he expected Mr Carney to continue in his post.

“If he were to stay on for a year, it would not be a surprise. If he were to stay on for two years that would not be a shock. If he were to go, that would be a shock, but if there is a no-deal blowout, then he would go,” he said.

The attraction of staying on would be implementing new rules for financial services after Brexit, Mr Mann added. “He’s got something to work on and is a significant player and the job becomes interesting.”

Securing an agreement to serve more of his term would resolve a number of problems for the Treasury, which is fighting a battle within government for a soft Brexit. It is also preparing for an important autumn Budget that will outline how the government expects to pay for higher spending on health.

If a successor were to be announced before Brexit, Mr Carney would be nearing the end of his tenure on March 29 when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. This would create doubt over whether he could effectively deal with any longer-term consequences for the financial sector.

There was no agreement in place between Philip Hammond and Mr Carney over his position last week, but the chancellor values the reassurance that the governor provided to financial markets after the Brexit vote.

Rapid decisions on senior roles at the central bank are needed in the weeks ahead if the government wants a top team in place before Brexit. The first five-year term of Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor for financial stability, will expire at the end of October. His job has not yet been advertised.


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