FORMER chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed that he and Gordon Brown almost fired Bank of England governor Mervyn King in 2008.
In extracts of his forthcoming memoir that have appeared online, Darling calls King “amazingly stubborn and exasperating” and suggests that his term as governor would not have been renewed for a second time had the government been able to find a viable alternative.
Darling also suggests that King’s faults led to a “prickly and strained” relationship between him and FSA chair Lord Turner that contributed to the financial crisis.
The revelations shed new light on the tensions between the Bank and the last government in its waning days. King has since endorsed the current coalition government’s deficit reduction plans, to criticism from Labour.
Darling’s book also reveals his unease at Brown’s attempt to “keep an eye” on him by appointing loyal MPs as Treasury ministers. He describes Gordon Brown as “brutal and volcanic” and criticises Brown’s lieutenants Ed Balls and Shriti Vadhera.