Bob Seely MP accuses HSBC of 'virtue signalling' with advert stating UK is 'not an island'

Bob Seely MP: HSBC’s anti-Brexit advert is not ‘a reason to bank with them’

The HSBC advertisement put up opposite a platform of the London Underground. Image: Pablo Reyes Barbosa

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Conservative MP Bob Seely has said that HSBC’s latest online advertisement is not “a reason to bank with them” and accused the bank of “virtue-signalling”.

HSBC have published a new advert, stating “we are not an island” before listing a number of activities British citizens are said to enjoy, which.

These activities include Colombian coffee drinking, American movie watching and Dutch beer cheers-ing.

Many people have interpreted the advert as being anti-Brexit.

The MP for Isle of Wight told talkRADIO’s James Whale: “It is a little bit of virtue-signalling – ‘we are not an island, we are a part of something bigger’.

“It is a statement of fact. Yes, we are a part of the world but I am not quite sure why HSBC think it is a reason to bank with them.

“I think virtue-signalling from a bank, which was found a few years ago to be laundering $800m of drug money from Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, probably is not great.

“They also violated US sanctions by working with Libya and Sudan.”

The bank paid US authorities a record $1.9bn (£1.42bn) settlement in 2012 after admitting it had poor money laundering controls.

The bank was also alleged to be handling transactions for countries under US sanctions, such as Iran, Libya and Sudan.


'Money coming our way' 

When Whale argued that Mr Seely's constituency has benefitted from being a member of the European Union, Mr Seely disagreed.

He said: “We have not had any extra money whatsoever, and arguably we have lost out because we are part of the wealthy south-east. We missed out on all the structural funds that went to places like Cornwall.

“Places like Cornwall have done fantastically well out of the European Union, but we haven’t.

“I hope after Brexit, we get a little bit of that money coming our way.”

Between 2014 and 2020, Cornwall was expected to receive over €1,000 (£800) per person from the EU Structural and Investment Fund.

The funds are given to support economic development and tackle regional wealth disparities.