Brexit Backer Battles Leading Remainer to Head Bank Oversight Panel

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nicky Morgan run for Treasury Committee chair
  • Rees-Mogg called last year for BOE Governor Carney to go

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Brexit-supporting critic of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, will vie with former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, a passionate “Remain” campaigner, and four other Conservatives to head the parliamentary panel that scrutinizes the work of the BOE and the U.K. Treasury.

Rees-Mogg and Morgan, both lawmakers since 2010, are the most prominent candidates seeking the chairmanship of the House of Commons Treasury Committee. The others are Richard Bacon, Charlie Elphicke, Stephen Hammond and John Penrose. Members of Parliament vote on Wednesday, with the result due to be announced either the same evening or Thursday morning.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Rees-Mogg clashed with Carney last year, accusing the BOE governor of intervening in politics in the Brexit debate and calling for him to be fired. Carney rebuffed the charges, saying that suppressing his concerns over the economic impact of Brexit would have been a political choice. Rees-Mogg, who’s the founder of Somerset Capital Management, highlighted his “considerable experience” in financial services in his pitch for the role, saying he wouldn’t seek to use it as “a megaphone for my own personal position.”

Morgan, once touted as a possible contender for the Tory party leadership, was dropped from the cabinet by Theresa May when she took over the premiership from David Cameron a year ago. She’s since emerged as one of the most voluble Conservative opponents of a hard Brexit. Among those nominating her for the role are the pro-EU former chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Wes Streeting, one of the Labour members of the committee in the last Parliament. She’s a former Treasury minister.

Nicky Morgan

Photographer: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

Hammond was a member of the committee before the election and is a qualified economist and analyst, having worked in financial services for 20 years before becoming a lawmaker in 2005.

Contest Sparked

The Treasury Committee’s previous chairman, Andrew Tyrie, unexpectedly quit the House of Commons before the June 8 general election, sparking the leadership contest. The panel also examines the work of the U.K. tax agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The committee will have a slew of BOE hearings to get through once the new chair and other panel members are chosen, including the appointment testimony for incoming policy maker Silvana Tenreyro, who will vote in her first interest-rate decision next month.

The panel is also due to quiz central-bank officials on their last round of forecasts published in May, as well the publication of the Financial Stability Report last month. The central bank will update its forecasts and announce the next policy decision on Aug. 3, in the middle of Parliament’s summer recess, which starts at the end of next week. The house reconvenes Sept. 5.

Before the election, panel members questioned whether ultra-loose monetary policy was contributing to widening inequality in the U.K. They started a review into the effectiveness of monetary policy at the end of last year.

The BOE is also likely to appoint a new deputy governor for markets and banking in the coming months to replace Charlotte Hogg, who resigned from the post after criticism from the committee. She failed to disclose to the BOE that her brother works at Barclays Plc, which the BOE regulates.

Conflicts of interest could come up again in the selection of the new committee chair: Penrose’s wife sits on the BOE’s governing body.

Elections for the chairs of 10 other select committees will also take place Wednesday.

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