Jean Lambert: UK will ‘struggle to have an impact’ post-Brexit
Outgoing UK MEP Jean Lambert has warned that Britain will “struggle to have an impact” when it leaves the EU.
Theresa May announces departure date | Photo credit: Press Association
Speaking to The Parliament Magazine on the eve of the European elections, Lambert said she feared that a so-called “hard Brexit” was now closer than ever and painted a dismal outlook for the UK if that happens.
The veteran Greens member, who is not seeking re-election, said, “Everyone I talk to on my travels around other countries keep asking me this: when will the UK come to its senses?”
“The idea put forward by Brexiteers that it [the UK] can merely reach out to the Commonwealth and maybe the United States to solve its problem is, frankly, wishful thinking. The fact is that the EU is a far more important partner for other countries, such as the US, than the UK is.”
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“The impression generally is that the UK is not only extricating itself from a major trading block but will also struggle to have an impression, for instance in foreign policy, on the wider international scale after it has finally left the EU.”
“The feeling is that it [the UKJ] will struggle to find its own place in the world,” she added.
Lambert’s comments come as UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Friday that 7 June will be the date of her departure from Downing Street.
May’s move comes hot on the heels of UK foreign minister Jeremy Hunt’s declaration on Thursday that he would not back May’s “new, bold” version of the Withdrawal Agreement thrashed out with the EU over the last two years.
“Everyone I talk to on my travels around other countries keep asking me this: when will the UK come to its senses?” Jean Lambert MEP
May had been expected to table her new plans in the House of Commons on Thursday but later said this would be delayed.
Her last-ditch offer to Labour MPs this week met with a disastrous reaction both from the opposition and from within her own party.
Though May has now given the date of her departure, she could remain Prime Minister until mid-July and there are fears that this would leave little time to resolve the ongoing Brexit impasse before the 31 October deadline.
There are reports that there could be as many as 17 candidates for the Conservative party leadership.
Lambert, a former member for London, said of Brexit, “This whole sorry saga has had a damaging impact on the country’s image. People tell me they always used to be able to rely on British pragmatism, but they now ask me: what has happened to that Britain?”
Turning to the possibility of Brexit being reversed, she said, “I suppose there is still a chance of this happening. After all, after what has happened since the EU Referendum we should not be surprised by anything in politics. But, even so, that is going to be very difficult.”
Meanwhile, Jayne Adye, director of the cross-party Eurosceptic campaign group, Get Britain Out, said the potential of a second Referendum is a “betrayal of the British people and Britain’s democracy.”
She told this site, “It is a slap in the face of all those who have waited years since the EU Referendum.”
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