Image: David Iliff Image: David Iliff

We seem to live in the age of the 'art of the deal'. In the Trump era, politics is about adopting a hard negotiating position and expecting your adversaries to cave-in. Tell the EU that the UK is ready to walk away, and maybe a deal with the EU will be a shoe-in.

And now the new hope to support the UK’s negotiating cause comes in part from words spoken by Michael Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator.

It’s all a bit hush hush. The Barnier words come courtesy of unpublished minutes.

It turns out that he is worried about financial stability if Brexit cuts the City of London adrift from the single market.

Mr Barnier later Tweeted that the EU will need to apply ‘special vigilance’ to maintain financial stability after Brexit.

The idea that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU is not true, it is faintly ridiculous, but that does not mean that the EU doesn’t need the UK. And there are respects in which the UK is key.And it’s good to see the EU admit that the City provides an important service, rather than just accuse it of sucking the rest the economy dry, as some seem to think.

The idea of the importance of the City suggested by Mr Barnier chimes with recent words by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney. In fact Mr Carney said that in the short term “there are greater financial stability risks on the continent … for the transition than there are for the UK.”

Maybe it would be in everyone’s interest if London, along with say Scotland, was allowed to have slightly different terms with the EU from those afforded to the rest of the UK

Not that the more extreme Brexiteers would like that idea.

Does anyone think it is tad ironic that the UK’s secret weapon in EU negotiations appears to be the City of London, that very animal that many Brexit voters seem to loathe?