Lord Nigel Lawson hits out at Bank of England governor Mark Carney's EU speech

James Nickerson
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Nigel Lawson was in favour of remaining in the European Community in 1975 (Source: Getty)

Former Conservative chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson has taken issue with governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney's eagerly-awaited European Union speech, which was delivered last night.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Lawson said Carney's speech was "regrettable" and that he went above his remit. No other Bank governor would have "waded in" in a "political way" on such a highly sensitive issue.

Lawson added: "[Carney] discussed the overall performance of the economy, which is not the Bank of England's responsibility at all."

Read more: Lawson - Cameron "hasn't got anywhere" with EU renegotiations

Last night Carney gave a speech on EU membership, in which he said the UK has successfully harnessed the benefits of "openness afforded by EU membership, while avoiding some of the drawbacks of reduced flexibility from which some continental European economies suffer".

However, Lawson, who will lead pro-exit group Conservatives for Britain, said Carney had failed to mention the fundamental problem associated with the EU - the "growing mass" of EU regulation.

Read more: Carney tells Brussels: Get off our turf

Lawson has previously said the nature of the EU is that "more Europe" is always considered a good thing, "but it almost always means more regulation", he said.

"It costs the UK [in] the order of £25bn a year, which is constantly getting worse and which we cannot oppose".

However pro-In campaigners estimate the benefits of staying in the EU will accrue to £58bn by 2030.

Carney's speech comes ahead of the In/Out referendum, which Prime Minister David Cameron has promised before the end of 2017, once he has wrapped up lengthy negotiations.

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