WOKINGHAM MP John Redwood is facing calls to resign following a newspaper article in which the staunch Brexiter appeared to encourage readers to invest in European banks over the UK.
In his opinion piece published in the Financial Times (behind a paywall), Mr Redwood suggested that, rather than trusting the Bank Of England with their money, investors should buy into the European Central Bank – an EU organisation and warned that the UK economy is hitting the brakes.
The article stated that “The money [of his share fund] could be better put to work in places where the authorities are allowing credit to expand a bit”.
Mr Redwood also recommended investing into US commercial banks over the home territories.
And he warned the the UK’s economic performance meant that investing here would not encourage growth, something at odds with some of his post-Brexit pronounciations.
He wrote: “I sold out of the general share ETFs [Exchange-Traded Fund] in the UK after their great performance for the year from early July 2016 when I saw the last Budget and heard the BoE’s [Bank of England’s] credit warnings. The money could be better put to work in places where the authorities are allowing credit to expand a bit, to permit faster growth.”
This is something that Forbes.com columnist Frances Coppola said was “an absolute disgrace … to give such advice”.
“This senior lawmaker is advising investors to stop investing in his country,” she added, warning that Mr Redwood’s stance of the UK having a Hard Brexit would mean “an immediate deep recession for the UK” and lower living standards.
“To protect his job as an investment manager, he warned his wealthy clients to get their money out before the disaster hits … This is despicable behaviour by a lawmaker. The Rt Hon John Redwood MP is putting his own interests above those he represents. He is unfit to hold office. He should resign.”
And Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told The Guardian: [Redwood] is talking down Britain and encouraging investors to invest in other countries instead.”
Local reaction to John Redwood’s comments
Wokingham Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Clive Jones told The Wokingham Paper: “I’m just amazed that arch-Brexiter John Redwood has changed his position on the UK economy. Prior to Brexit, it was going to be fantastic, now we’ve voted to leave the European Union he’s telling people to invest in Europe and not the UK, because the European Central Bank is going to repress interest rates.
“They [The Conservatives] are wrecking the place, absolutely wrecking it.”
And Mr Jones, who is also a borough councillor for Wokingham, warned that Mr Redwood’s second job as chief global strategist for Charles Stanley was incompatible with his role as MP for Wokingham constituency
He said: “They don’t sit well together. His day job takes him more than two days a week. He should be working for the people of Wokingham who have elected him for parliament.
“He isn’t representing the people, he never has done. In Wokingham, 57% people voted to stay in the EU, he’s stuck two fingers up at them by telling them not to invest in the UK, but to invest in Europe, it’s incredible.
“He is another Tory MP who should be looking at his position. Is his day job and his role as an MP compatible?”
And Labour’s parliamentary candidate Andy Croy also expressed disbelief at Mr Redwood’s comments.
Writing on a Facebook group for Wokingham residents, Mr Croy, who is also a councillor on Wokingham Borough Council, said: “I haven’t heard the phrase ‘disaster capitalism’ before but that is the nature of the beast.
“It has no morals, just the unprincipled pursuit of profit.
“I am still undecided as to whether Vladimir Putin supports Brexit so he and his oligarchs can clean up along with Redwood’s capitalist mates or if it is just to shaft the country.”
Speaking to The Wokingham Paper, Mr Croy added that he felt Mr Redwood should step down.
“He clearly needs to spend more time abroad with his money. I hear Moscow is lovely at this time of year,” he said.
“John Redwood used to claim that he spoke for England. It is clear where his loyalties lie – wherever he can make make some money. That might explain why he is so rarely seen In Wokingham – it is full of hard working people, paying their taxes and expecting top quality public services in exchange.
“What we don’t expect is an MP who will run down our country, run down our economy and run down our jobs. His true colours are out now.
“Redwood needs to come clean on how many more times he has sold us all short. His time is up. It’s time for Redwood to be replaced by someone invested in Wokingham, not investing abroad.”
Mr Redwood has been contacted for a comment. We will update the story when we have heard back from them.
Why is John Redwood one of four Wokingham MPs?
Because of the way the local constituencies are drawn up, Wokingham borough has four MPs: Wokingham’s John Redwood, Bracknell’s Dr Phillip Lee, Maidenhead’s Theresa May and Reading East’s Matt Rodda. While Wokingham Borough voted to remain in the EU during the referendum vote, the votes were not broken down into ward. However, the parts of John Redwood’s constituency that fall in West Berkshire Council’s remit also voted to remain in the EU.
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