Sunday 15 May 2016 10:05 am

Mark Carney defends "outspoken" Bank of England Brexit comments as former City minister Andrea Leadsom launches fresh attack

The Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney has defended the central bank's outspoken comments on the economic risks of Britain leaving Europe.

 "Absolutely not" responded Carney when asked if the comments overstepped the mark by Andrew Marr on the BBC's Sunday morning show.

"The issue is much wider than the issues the Bank of England is concerned with," Carney said, just days after he warned that Brexit risked plunging the country into recession.

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"We are absolutely independent," he said, adding that the BoE identifies risk around remaining in the EU as well as leaving.

He called the comments "carefully considered" and only reflected the bank's remit.

"We have learned in the United Kingdom from past mistakes," says Mark Carney. For example, "the debacle of the ERM exit" led to inflation targets.

The lesson of the financial crisis was to "give an institution responsibility for identifying risks", said Carney. "We also have a responsibility to explain risks and take steps… to reduce them."

The Bank of England's entry into the debate faced fresh criticism from the former City minister and Leave supporter Andrea Leadsom who called the intervention "incredibly dangerous".

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To get involved with "purely speculative what might happen, what might households do, what might businesses do, that's just not inside their remit", she said. "They're not there to promote financial instability, and that's what they've done."

Carney's comments on Thursday when the central bank launched its latest inflation report, sparked a political row and criticism from former chancellor Lord Lamont and Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg among others.

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