EU referendum: Lord Owen calls on President Obama to consider the real questions before the British people and not just US concerns about a Eurozone collapse.
Speaking at the launch of his Haus book, ‘The UK’s In-Out Referendum. EU Foreign and Defence Policy Reform’, Centre for Policy Studies, London, 14 March 2016.
“There has been a long tradition that US Presidential visits to this country do not take place close to General Election periods. The reasons for this are obvious and hitherto scrupulously observed by Washington D.C. They also govern Prime Ministers visiting the United States.
“…Yesterday it was reported that President Obama will visit this country at the end of April in the midst of our referendum campaign to tell the British people to remain in the EU. No doubt this will be accompanied by excruciating and inevitably embarrassing praise for David Cameron to balance what the President said about having to persuade him to spend 2% of GDP on defence. As emotions mount in our referendum debate it would be better for the President to respect diplomatic courtesies and democratic conventions.
“The choice to leave the EU is not an easy one for us in Britain but it is being taken not only on the balance of advantage for the UK but also for the wider Europe, and our partners Canada and the US in NATO.
“Do we take in Britain this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered by our Prime Minister to get out of the dysfunctional EU in an agreed transitional period now? Or do we give up this opportunity and wait, risking a forced exit from the EU at a point of maximum disruption when the Eurozone suddenly collapses?”
Read the full release here. CPS Pressrelease14.2.16