Former Boris Johnson economic adviser condemns economists' Brexit consensus – but backs Bank of England and Mark Carney

William Turvill
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Conservative Party Autumn Conference 2015 - Day 3
Gerard Lyons served as the Mayor of London's chief economic adviser (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson’s former chief economic adviser says recent economic data proves that most economists were wrong about Brexit.

Gerard Lyons, who like the former London mayor backed the Brexit campaign, said this was part of a “long tradition”, pointing to experts’ failure to predict the financial crisis.

However, in an interview with City A.M., Lyons praised the Bank of England and its governor Mark Carney for his actions either side of the EU referendum.

Read more: From City Hall to wealth manager: Meet Boris Johnson's ex-economic adviser

“I thought they did a very good job both sides of the referendum, both beforehand and more particularly after,” he said.

“And I think the message the governor has given is rates will stay low, are likely to rise gradually, but ‘no policy shocks’ seems to be the message.

“Some people criticise central bankers when they tell people in advance what they’re doing. But I think it’s helped provide a stabilising influence, not just for the markets but more importantly for the economy.”

Lyons also rejected links between Carney and the so-called Project Fear.

Read more: The ONS has put together an economists supergroup to avoid dodgy data

“You’re in a no-win situation sometimes if you’re the governor of the Bank of England,” he said. “You need to be highlighting the risks, as well as positioning yourself for them. And I think people would have been surprised if the Bank of England had not said anything about the referendum.”

Condemning the economic consensus on Brexit, he added: “What I’m surprised by, maybe, is that people haven’t moved on since Brexit. I would think everyone should be pulling together to say: ‘Let’s make this work’, in terms of the national best interest.”

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