London Mayor Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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Citing discussions with unidentified senior bankers, Johnson, a leading opponent of Prime Minister David Cameron's campaign to keep the U.K. in the 28-nation bloc, said support for staying in the EU is "shallow" among business leaders.Johnson announced he would be backing a so-called Brexit last month in a blow to the premier and the "Remain" campaign.Johnson cited Lloyds Bank Chairman Norman Blackwell, Royal Bank of Scotland Group director Sheila Noakes and Arbuthnot Banking Group Chairman Henry Angest as examples of "very distinguished bankers in favor of Brexit".Johnson defended his statements and said he would provide the committee with detailed evidence to back them up.During the committee hearing, Labour lawmaker John Mann accused Johnson of slurring Mark Carney by saying the Bank of England governor had put forward a political argument for Brexit – an allegation the mayor disputed.Carney, who told the Treasury Committee earlier this month that Brexit is the biggest domestic risk to financial stability, had a "perfect right" to comment on the likely effects of leaving the EU, Johnson said. But the mayor accused industry groups that support EU membership of being dominated by people who have a lucrative vested interest in backing the EU.
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