Impossible not to place responsibility of Brexit result with David Cameron

Written by Edward McMillan-Scott on 24 June 2016 in Opinion
Opinion

Withdrawal from the European parliament's European People's Party (EPP) grouping was the start of Cameron's concession to the Right argues Edward McMillan-Scott.

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour campaigned vigorously enough for EU membership, says Edward McMillan-Scott | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual


A postscript to a long night was Donald Trump's "this is fantastic" on his arrival to visit his Scottish golf course.

No doubt there is also satisfaction in Putin's circle, as we approach another tense summer with borders being reinforced by Russia and Nato.

It is impossible for me not to place the responsibility with David Cameron. His pledge during the party's leadership contest in 2005 to a group of Conservative parliamentarians belonging to the Better Off Out faction, led by eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan, to withdraw from the European parliament's European People's Party (EPP) was his first concession to the Right. 


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It led to my protest at the nature of the new group he formed after the 2009 European election and my eventual departure from the Conservative Party to join the Liberal Democrats.

In the summer of 2012, Cameron made a further concession to his Right, promising a referendum on EU membership. Today's 52-48 per cent win for the Leave side is the result.

It is also the case that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, did not put the case for Remain with any conviction. The only party to campaign vigorously to retain the UK's EU membership was the Liberal Democrats.

I hope that the EU holds its nerve. British politics will be in a state of hyperactivity in the coming months and should result in an accommodation allowing for maximum continuity in the UK's relationships with its neighbours. I look forward to a change of mind once the reality of life outside the EU becomes known.

About the author

Edward McMillan-Scott is a former ALDE group MEP and European Parliament Vice-President

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