Labour calls for probe into currency speculators backing Boris Johnson and a no-deal Brexit
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Labour is calling on the cabinet secretary to investigate claims Boris Johnson is pursuing a no-deal Brexit to help currency speculators and hedge funds who bankroll the Tories.
In a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, shadow chancellor John McDonnell expressed concern that big Conservative donors who backed Johnson had a financial interest in a no-deal break.
His intervention comes after former chancellor Philip Hammond accused Johnson of failing to pursue negotiations with the EU seriously while speculators were set to make a killing if the UK left without an agreement.
Writing in The Times, Hammond - one of 21 Tory MPs to have the whip withdrawn after rebelling over Brexit - said he was voicing concerns shared by the prime minister's sister, Rachel Johnson.
"Boris Johnson asserts, ever more boldly, that we will leave the EU on October 31, 'with or without a deal'," he wrote.
"But as his sister has reminded us, he is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit - and there is only one outcome that works for them: a crash-out no-deal Brexit that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring.
You may also want to watch:
"So they, at least, will be reassured to see no evidence at all that his government has seriously pursued a deliverable deal; still less that it has been pursuing a deal that could get us out by October 31."
In his letter to Sir Mark, McDonnell said the prime minister and the Conservative Party had received significant sums from individuals backing no-deal - some of them involved in hedge funds.
- 1 Susanna Reid takes on Priti Patel over government's gaslighting of public on coronavirus
- 2 Tory minister admits UK rejected EU's music visa offer in order to 'take back control' of borders
- 3 Brexiteer musician accused of hypocrisy after demanding No 10 help bands with EU visa
- 4 PMQs: Ben Bradshaw calls out Boris Johnson over Brexit lies
- 5 Priti Patel fails to appear in Commons to answer questions on missing police records
- 6 Piers Morgan calls on Priti Patel to resign over missing crime records fiasco
- 7 ‘Don’t haste ye back’ - Nicola Sturgeon's perfect farewell message to Donald Trump
- 8 The bigot we should have called out on day one
- 9 Kwasi Kwarteng confirms post-Brexit review of workers' rights
- 10 Iain Duncan Smith defends calling Donald Trump 'a decent man'
At the same time, he wrote there had been widespread reports of increases in "short positions" being taken against sterling in anticipation of a possible no-deal, while Johnson had expressed a willingness to leave the EU without an agreement.
"These three facts have caused concern that the prime minister may have a conflict of interest," he wrote.
"Donors to the Conservative Party and/or prime minister could stand to gain from a no-deal Brexit (even if only through cushioning losses by adopting short positions).
"The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors."
He added: "It is becoming increasingly apparent from public comment that the prime minister is bringing into doubt whether he is upholding the highest standards, thereby further undermining public confidence and trust in him and his government.
"It is important for public confidence and trust in the House of Commons that any real or apparent conflict of interest is investigated. Only an independent inquiry with access to full facts can settle this."
One of Boris Johnson's billionaire backers is Sir Crispin Odey who appeared in Channel 4's Tories At War documentary.
The hedgefund financier has reportedly waged a £300m bet against some of Britain's biggest businesses on the implication their share prices will crash after Brexit.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.