David Cameron has issued one of his strongest defences of the banking sector yet, telling the Lord Major's banquet those who "trash the banks would end up trashing Britain".
In a speech traditionally focussed on foreign policy, Cameron said while technology and manufacturing would fuel Britain's economic recovery, it was important to support the country's banking system.
"Right now Britain is in a global race," he said. "It is a moment of reckoning for every country. Sink or swim. Do or decline."
Camerona added: "Pursuing a modern industrial strategy doesn't mean being anti-finance. Some utterly terrible mistakes were made, and they need to be addressed properly so they can never happen again.
"But those who think the answer is just to trash the banks, would end up trashing Britain.
"I say: recognise the enormous strength and potential of our financial sector. Regulate it properly and get behind it."
The government was taking "tough action" to clean up the banking system, including the threat of criminal prosecution, he said, as well as clearing up Labour's "regulatory mess".
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