Michael Gove suggested closing British banks the day after Brexit to prevent financial chaos

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty ImagesBoris Johnson and Michael Gove.
  • Michael Gove discussed holding a bank holiday on November 1, the day after the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, to mitigate the financial chaos of a no-deal Brexit, according to reports.
  • Gove, who Boris Johnson put in charge of no-deal preparations, said the government would consider the idea in a meeting with business leaders on Thursday.
  • A bank holiday would mean financial markets remained closed for 24 hours after the UK left the EU, which could soften the short-term impact and disruption on Britain’s economy.
  • Johnson has committed to taking the UK out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.
  • Downing Street sources last night insisted Gove’s suggestion was not government policy.

Government minister Michael Gove reportedly considered declaring a bank holiday on November 1, the day after the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, to reduce the financial chaos caused by a no-deal Brexit..

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, told business leaders he was considering the plan, according to reports on Friday from The Times and Sky News.

According to two sources, Gove said: “I don’t know if this is a good idea at all.

“Tell me if it isn’t. What about a bank holiday?”

Michael GoveLeon Neal/Getty ImagesMichael Gove.

Boris Johnson, who became prime minister in July, has committed to taking the UK out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, despite warnings the country – particularly business – is not fully prepared for such an outcome.

A bank holiday would mean financial markets remained closed for 24 hours after the UK left the EU, which could soften the short-term impact and disruption on Britain’s economy.

Downing Street sources last night insisted Gove’s suggestion was not government policy, the Times reported.

Read more: Remainer MPs could ask the Queen to sack Boris Johnson if he loses a no-confidence vote

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One of the business representatives present in the meeting reportedly welcomed the idea, especially because France already has a bank holiday on the same day.

Others allegedly said the proposal would not protect Britain’s financial markets because international markets would still respond negatively to a no-deal exit.

A Downing Street spokesperson told the Times: “Business round tables are an important forum to allow business to suggest and discuss ideas. While we welcome open discussion, a bank holiday on November 1 is not government policy and will not happen.”

Johnson eyes a general election the day after Brexit

FILE PHOTO: Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the launch of Labour's European election campaign in Kent, Britain, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File PhotoReutersJeremy Corbyn launches Labour’s European election campaign.

The report comes as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the United Kingdom’s most senior civil servant to intervene to prevent Boris Johnson from forcing a no-deal Brexit in the middle of a general election campaign.

Corbyn wrote to Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, on Thursday, accusing the prime minister of planning an “unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power,” after it was reported that Johnson could hold a general election the day after Brexit. The UK is set to leave the European Union on October 31.

The opposition leader’s letter comes amid speculation that MPs could stage a vote of no-confidence in Johnson before October 31 as a means of trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, which would trigger a general election if successful.

“Forcing through no deal against a decision of parliament, and denying the choice to the voters in a general election already underway, would be an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power by a prime minister elected, not by the public, but by a small number of unrepresentative Conservative party members,” he wrote.

“I am therefore writing to seek your urgent clarification on the proper application of ‘purdah’ rules in such a scenario and the constitutional implications of failing to abide by those rules.”

Downing Street has repeatedly refused to rule out delaying an election until the few days after Brexit on October 31, even if MPs trigger one beforehand by voting to oust Johnson in a bid to stop a no-deal exit.

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