In a warning to the European Union (EU), Richard Graham, Theresa May’s trade envoy to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and the ASEAN economic bloc, said the bloc shouldn’t “shoot all of us in the foot” during Brexit negotiations.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the Tory MP for Gloucester said business was more likely to transfer to the United States instead of cities like Paris or Frankfurt due to Britain leaving the EU.
But he added the Brussels bloc needed to recognise London, the “capital market for Europe”, was not a city it should lose trade with.
He said: “The city of London is not an entity that’s suddenly going to relocate to Frankfurt or Paris. If, for whatever reason, the agreement with the EU makes it harder to transact certain types of business in London, that business is more likely to shift to America than it is to go elsewhere on continental Europe.”
Richard Graham said the EU desperately needed London
The city of London is not an entity that’s suddenly going to relocate to Frankfurt or Paris
Mr Graham added that German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was correct in his view that London should stay as the European financial capital after Brexit.
He said: “He made the point that actually Europe badly needs the functioning capital market for the whole of Europe, that the city of London is today.
“That I hope is the attitude that will triumph, the attitude that is pragmatic, realises the benefits of London as a financial and professional services centre.
“It’s not just finance, it’s the accounting, the lawyers, the advertisers, the FinTechs, all these things as well, that really services the whole of Europe and should be able to go on doing so.
In pictures: Theresa May meets with EU's Tusk Thu, April 6, 2017
The two leaders held talks on Brexit negotiations
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European Council President Donald Tusk gestures to members of the media as he leaves 10 Downing street after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in central London
“That’s I think where we want to get to and I just hope that inadvertently the EU doesn’t shoot all of us in the foot by not recognising the value of the city of London to the whole of Europe.”
Mr Schaeuble has said Europe would be strengthened by getting behind London despite the UK separating itself from the bloc.
“I am not sure whether it would be very beloved in Paris to say so, but we have our own interest, even after Brexit, to have a strong financial centre in London,” Mr Schaeuble said.
“We can’t move the whole business to Europe and it’s better to have it in London than in Singapore or elsewhere in the world.”