Regret Brexit, not the decision to hold referendum: Cameron

Regret Brexit, not the decision to hold referendum: Cameron
Regret Brexit, not the decision to hold referendum: Cameron

NEW DELHI: ¬†Defending his decision to hold a referendum which led to Britain’s exit from the EU, former Prime Minister David Cameron today said there are issues that go above Parliament and not taking people’s consent on vital subjects is a “potential problem”.

The former British PM, who held three referendums in his tenure, said although he has regrets over Brexit, he still supports the process where people’s participation is taken into consideration before arriving at such major decisions.

Cameron, who quit as British Prime Minister following the shock result in the referendum, also defended his decision to hold one on Scottish independence. Had he refused the move, it would have helped the cause of Scottish independence, he said.

“It seems to me that the referendums I held were entirely justified. The electoral system, the way in which we vote for our representatives are the key rules of the game. And I think Parliament changing the rules of the games without the consent of people is a potential problem. I think you need to go ahead of the Parliament,” Cameron said at the HT Leadership Summit here.

In June this year, Britain had voted narrowly in favour of withdrawing from the 28-member European Union.

Cameron said one of the reasons behind the Brexit referendum was that Britain had joined the EU in 1972 and there was a referendum on the same issue in 1975. However, between 1975 and 2016, there were several treaties that reshaped the power of Europe with respect to the UK that made “quite profound changes”, he said.

Cameron also said Britain did not leave the EU in favour of protectionism.

“If you look at Britain, our premier car manufacturer Jagaur Land Rover is owned by an Indian company. That is not a source of shame or embarrassment. It is great pride that we together, the Indian capital and British skills and technology, have built a new manufacturing giant,” he said.

He, however, added that Brexit is “not a dead end” and it is upon the new leadership to deliver on it as there is a “clear mutual interest” in making the partnership between the EU and Britain work.

Interestingly, tomorrow Italy will also hold a referendum on whether to stay in or withdraw from the European bloc.

Cameron said although globalisation has had its benefits, a “course correction” is required as a large number of people have been left behind who have not reaped its benefits.

“Many people looking at India have said you need to get rid of corruption, you need to move your economy where people are banking rather than not banking. You need to move fast forward towards a digital economy and crucially in terms of development, you need to grow your tax payers,” he said.

The former British prime minister said while Britain always had misgivings about the EU, the Brits never liked an idea of a Commission for Civil Service and a European Parliament.

“Britain’s commitment to Europe was very much a utilitarian one. We were there because it was in our economic interest to trade and cooperate. We never liked the political project and tried get out of that,” Cameron said.

He said Euro was fundamentally a “flawed” project, pointing to the Eurozone crisis and the slow growth of Greece. (agencies)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here