Government failed UK financial services in Brexit trade deal, says former PM Theresa May

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have failed to achieve a Brexit deal that adequately represents financial services, his predecessor has said.

Former prime minister Theresa May slammed Johnson for not securing a stronger agreement with the EU on future regulation for financial services, singling the sector out as the one that has been most left behind.

“In 2018 in Mansion House I said that we wanted to work to get a financial services deal in the future treaty arrangement, and that that would be truly groundbreaking. It would have been — but sadly, that has not been achieved,” she said in the House of Commons on 30 December.

“We have a deal in trade which benefits the EU, but not a deal in services which would have benefitted the UK. The arrangement treaty is clear that future negotiations on these points are possible, and I hope that the government will go to these negotiations with alacrity and vigour, particularly on financial services.”

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May was speaking as part of the ongoing debate on the government’s post-Brexit trade deal, which will be voted on by MPs later on 30 December.

The EU future relationship bill includes little detail on future regulation of financial services, which is expected to be subject to further negotiations in the early months of 2021.

In response to similar accusations by Labour MPs, Johnson said the UK is “backing bankers [and] backing financial services,” arguing that it “does a great deal” for the sector.

The bill, which is more than 1,200 pages long, is expected to receive the backing of Parliament in a vote held at around 2:30pm GMT.

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Once passed, it will move on to the House of Lords, where it is expected to be approved at around 10pm or 11pm. After that it will go to the Queen for royal assent, after which it will become UK law.

Theresa May has continued to work in financial services as an MP since ending her time as Prime Minister. She has received more than £432,000 in fees for speaking at events held by banks and professional services firms since stepping down in 2019.

Investment bank JPMorgan is among her top clients – the lender forked out £205,870 to pay her for attending a London event last year and in advance of two speeches in April that were later postponed due to the pandemic.

READ  City firms fork out £432,000 on hiring Theresa May for event speeches

Others who have hired the former PM include Swiss bank UBS, accountancy firm PwC and a number of US universities.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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