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Sunak insists Starmer is the "biggest risk" for the City as he defends Tory record

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the City should fear Keir Starmer (PA Archive)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the City should fear Keir Starmer (PA Archive)

Rishi Sunak today insisted Keir Starmer was the “biggest risk” to the City as he defended the Government’s record on keeping London’s financial markets competitive on the global stage.

In an exclusive interview with the Standard, the Prime Minister said City firms had “warmly welcomed” the Conservatives’ efforts to reform and modernise the Square Mile and its huge financial services industries.

His comments came amid growing concern that London is in danger of losing its status as a world leading financial centre after a number of high profile companies moved their listings to other exchanges such as New York and only a trickle of businesses decided to float on the London stock market.

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But in his interview today at the start of the last full week of the general election campaign Sunak said the Government was working to shore up London’s reputation.

He said: “One thing we have done in the last few years, and we started when I was Chancellor, is make sure that London takes advantage of the opportunities it has on regulation to maintain its position as one of the leading financial centres of the world, that is what we are doing. The Chancellor set out the Edinburgh Reforms which builds on the vision that I set out for financial services in 2021, it’s for an open, technologically advanced financial services sector that is globally competitive and our approach to reforming the

FS (financial services) regulatory landscape recognises and protects the foundations on which the UK’s success as a hub is built, that’s agility, high standards, openness, but also makes sure that the regulation is proportionate, dynamic, pro-innovation and competitive and you can see the benefits of that. It has been warmly welcomed by City firms...

“Look, the biggest risk to the City is Keir Starmer and Labour who don’t support a culture of wealth creation and aspiration, they want to empower unions and they are more interested in regulating things rather than taking the opportunities that we have got.”

Sunak was speaking as London faced continuing challenges to its ambition to be the “European stock market of choice” for fast-growing companies.

London Tunnels, a company hoping to create an underground tourist attraction in the heart of the capital, said it would list its shares on Amsterdam’s Euronext, Danish brewer Carlsberg closed in on a £3 billion takeover of quoted soft drinks maker Britvic, and increasing doubts emerged about the potential £50 billion London listing of Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein.

Labour has worked hard to overhaul its reputation in the City since Starmer succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as party leader in 2020, with Rachel Reeves seen a credible Chancellor-in-waiting if the party does return to power after 14 years next week.