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U.S. Secretary of State: Britain’s Exit May Never Happen - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London – Britain exiting the EU may be delayed for several reasons: Europeans want to take it slow and Britons are in no hurry given that they don’t want to activate Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty yet, or even have another referendum; Not to mention, early elections, Leave Campaign leaders reneging their promises, and similar referendums taking place in Ireland and Denmark.

Leave supporters based their campaign on two main issues-immigration control and enhancing National Health Services.

Those two ideas were the main reason the Leave camp gained support. Yet, after the historic referendum and surprise win for Brexit, Leave campaigners are now in trouble for not being able to meet the promises they have made.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker criticized the Leave campaigners, saying they don’t have a clear plan to implement their goals.

Juncker pointed out that London should begin the negotiations as soon as possible given that: “We don’t have months to meditate.”

One of the slogans of the Leave campaign: “We send the EU £350 million a week – let’s fund our NHS instead” disappeared from Leave voting website along with other promises.

Leader of UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage admitted that this promise was a mistake the campaign did.

When asked about this by BBC, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith seemed nervous and eventually said that this promise comes as part of series of possibilities.

News Thump satire website mocked Smith: “Iain Duncan Smith tells wife: ‘Our wedding vows were just a series of possibilities.’”

Leave campaign also made a pledge to cut immigration, yet Conservative MP Daniel Hannan, who is a strong supporter of Brexit, said it will be a free movement of labor from Europe.

“The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement,” Hannan said. He added that all what they want is to have control over immigration.

Surely the Leave supporters want to be able to have access to the single market. Yet, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britain would not be able to “cherry pick” in any future negotiations with the EU.

Nigel Farage told Channel 4 that he worries about backsliding on Leave camp promises.

Former First Minister of Scotland Alexander Salmond said that Leave campaigners won the referendum but have no idea what to do next.

He told AFP that in 2014, campaigners calling for Scotland’s independence had prepared a report of 670 pages during their campaign, Leave supporters in Britain did nothing like that.

Boris Johnson, whose name has been suggested as the next prime minister, spoke generally in his first stance following the referendum.

In his article in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Johnson spoke of increasing cooperation with the EU without proposing any practical plan.

It is worth mentioning that Johnson admitted in his interview with the BBC that he had prepared two speeches at the night of the referendum: one calling for leaving and the other for staying in the EU.

British Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise Anna Soubry told Channel 4 News: “My anger with Boris is that I don’t honestly believe that he believed what he was saying to people.”

Soubry added that Boris never said he wanted to leave the EU and didn’t expect to leave. She also mentioned that Boris led the campaign for personal interests and wanting to be a prime minister.

This state of floundering and possibly recanting is the reason why U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that leaving EU may never happen.

During the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Kerry said that Cameron feels powerless “to go out and start negotiating a thing that he doesn’t believe in, and he has no idea how he would do it.”

The State Secretary added that most people who voted for the exit also have no idea how they would do it. Kerry was possibly referring to Leave campaigners including former London mayor Boris Johnson.

Referring to Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty, Kerry, who visited Cameron on Monday, said: “This is a very complicated divorce.”

When asked if a Brexit decision could be “walked back,” Kerry admitted it could be done although he didn’t want to say how.

“I think there are a number of ways,” he was quoted as saying. “As Secretary of State I won’t discuss them today. I think that would be a mistake. But there are a number of ways.”

European Commission president Juncker commented that he understands the fact that Prime Minister David Cameron wants to have some time in order to meditate, but it has to be speeded up. “We don’t have months to meditate, we have to act.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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