Email Slip Reportedly Reveals United Kingdom Plan For Possible EU Exit

Email Slip Reportedly Reveals United Kingdom Plan For Possible EU Exit

4:33pm May 23, 2015
The Bank of England in London in a photograph taken in March. The central bank inadvertently revealed that it was planning for a possible withdrawal of the U.K. from the European Union.
The Bank of England in London in a photograph taken in March. The central bank inadvertently revealed that it was planning for a possible withdrawal of the U.K. from the European Union.
Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters/Landov

In what is being described as an embarrassing release of a confidential email, the Bank of England may have inadvertently revealed that it is making financial plans for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, should that ever come to pass.

Earlier this month, the newly reelected British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his party's commitment to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on continued membership in the EU.

According to The Guardian, on Friday the Bank of England — the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve — "accidentally emailed details" to the newspaper of a contingency plan in the works on how to extricate the U.K. from the EU, "including how the bank intended to fend off any inquiries about its work."

The plan has been dubbed "Operation Bookend," according to the newspaper.

Jon Cunliffe, center, then Britain's International Economic and EU Advisor, stands behind Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2011 as he speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a G20 Summit. The Guardian reports that Cunliffe's secretary accidentally leaked to the paper Great Britain's plan for a possible exit from the European Union.

Jon Cunliffe, center, then Britain's International Economic and EU Advisor, stands behind Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2011 as he speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a G20 Summit. The Guardian reports that Cunliffe's secretary accidentally leaked to the paper Great Britain's plan for a possible exit from the European Union.

Charles Dharapak/AP

The Guardian reports that "the email, from [Deputy Governor for Financial Stability Sir Jon] Cunliffe's private secretary to four senior executives, was written on 21 May and forwarded by mistake to a Guardian editor by the Bank's head of press, Jeremy Harrison.

"It says: 'Jon's proposal, which he has asked me to highlight to you, is that no email is sent to [the team of James Talbot, the head of the monetary assessment and strategy division] ... or more broadly around the Bank about the project.'

"It continues: 'James can tell his team that he is working on a short-term project on European economics in International [division] which will last a couple of months. This will be in-depth work on a broad range of European economic issues. Ideally he would then say no more.'"

While the United Kingdom is one of 28 EU member states, it maintains its own currency and is not part of the Eurozone.

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