“What a fool, so silly, is the City of London.”

That was the defiant tone of the European Commission, which yesterday warned the City of London it could face “serious consequences” should Britain refuse to keep membership of the single market.

And the commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he was struggling to understand the City’s “immense pride” and “natural arrogance” over its decision to leave the EU.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s crunch EU summit, Mr Barnier has agreed to meet with bankers in a bid to defuse the potential clash which will threaten the City’s booming financial services industry.

He also extended an olive branch to investors, warning that they would not be welcome to EU member states if they continue to outsource their financial services operations to the UK.

But he said: “For the City of London, the meaning of independence is not freedom but freedom to find your way, your way, your way.”

“For the EU, its heart, its soul are in London.