Brexit vote not “an accident or a fluke” says former UK EU Commissioner

Business, Economy | Thu 2 Mar | Author – Business & Finance Lord Hill Liz Grace Michael Jackson
Pictured (L-R): Irish Minister for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy TD; Lord Jonathan Hill; Elizabeth Grace, partner and director of Communications Strategy, Matheson; and; Michael Jackson, managing partner, Matheson

Lord Jonathan Hill, former UK EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, has dismissed the idea of a second vote on Brexit.

Lord Hill was being interviewed jointly with the Irish Minister for Financial Services, Eoghan Murphy TD, in the House of Lords ahead of speaking at a Brexit briefing in London for over 200 financial services sector attendees hosted by Irish law firm Matheson.

Lord Hill, Irish Minister for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy and Matheson managing partner Michael Jackson were interviewed about their views on Brexit, its impact on the financial services sector and the importance of the Irish-UK relationship post-Brexit.

Lord Hill also described a shifting mood in the UK capital saying that, in his opinion “people don’t want to leave London”. While businesses have to make decisions in their interest, it wouldn’t be like a “switch flicking” and the City of London wouldn’t suddenly “migrate to Paris, Frankfurt or elsewhere”.

Minister Murphy strongly reasserted Ireland’s commitment to the European Union in the course of the interview and stated, “London will continue to be a strong global financial services centre and that this is in the EU’s interest”. He also set out the levels of investment and planning being undertaken by the Irish government to prepare for any opportunities arising from Brexit and cited common language and legal systems, talent availability and tax and regulatory provisions as being the basis for Ireland as the “natural location of choice” for UK companies, or those based in the UK, who wanted a gateway in to the EU post-Brexit.

Matheson’s managing partner Michael Jackson commented on the importance of the UK-Ireland relationship particularly as it relates to business-to-business engagement. “Ireland’s approach differs from others and it is welcomed by the clients we talk to in London.” he said.

Jackson also went on to note that the two-year window to negotiate a deal once Article 50 has been triggered is less than the average time it takes for an EU Directive to pass through the legislative process.

Concluding the interview Lord Hill said: “We’ve got to get on with our life and Europe has to get on with its life and that the quicker that happens the better it will be for Europe, Britain and for business.”