Bank of England Governor defends straying from interest rate guidance

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has defended the decision to hold interest rates steady this month despite having signalled a hike in May.

Treasury Select Committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan asked the Bank chief whether he accepted that statements referring to a "somewhat earlier-than-expected" interest rate rise was "rather confusing", given that rates were ultimately kept steady at 0.5%.

Mr Carney said a hike was never set in stone.

He said: "We give guidance. The guidance is conditional on the economic outlook.

"If the outlook changes, the actual policy stance will adjust, and of course the policy stance is determined by the sum of the individual decisions," he told MPs during a Treasury Select Committee hearing on Tuesday.

"What happened was the economy did not in the first quarter evolve broadly in line with our forecast," he added.

"Inflation came in lower, economic momentum - a number signs - were lower, and then ultimately the hard data came in lower as well and we as a committee sat back, looked back at that data and took our own assessments."

While two members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted in favour of an interest rate rise, Mr Carney said the majority "thought it made sense to take a bit of time to see that the momentum that I expect - that we expect, as a committee, in our forecasts - the momentum in the economy to re-establish itself before raising interest rates".

The Governor has been dubbed the "unreliable boyfriend" by critics, who say he has failed to follow through on monetary policy guidance on multiple occasions.