Friday 9 December 2016

Leaked tape shows May warned about Brexit before poll

Published 26/10/2016 | 02:30

British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Matt Cardy/PA Wire
British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Matt Cardy/PA Wire

Theresa May warned investment bankers of the long-term implications of Brexit a month before the UK voted to leave the EU.

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In a recording leaked to the 'Guardian' newspaper, May is heard warning Goldman Sachs bankers about Brexit and expressing her own concerns about the UK's departure. The comments stand in stark contrast with her 'hardline Brexit' stance.

Speaking at the bank in London on 26 May, 2016, she said Britain should take a lead from the EU and expressed concern about the economic implication of Brexit on Britain.

"I think the economic arguments are clear," she said. "I think being part of a 500-million trading bloc is significant for us. I think, as I was saying to you a little earlier, that one of the issues is that a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe...so I think there are definite benefits for us in economic terms."

Ms May also said she was convinced Britain's security was best served by remaining in Europe because of tools such as the European arrest warrant and the information-sharing between the police and intelligence agencies.

"There are definitely things we can do as members of the European Union that I think keep us more safe," she said.

She also praised then UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

In response, a spokesman for Number 10 Downing Street said: "Britain made a clear choice to vote to leave the EU and this government is determined to make a success of the fresh opportunities it presents."

Meanwhile, the majority of people in the UK feel the need for the country to govern itself outweighs the economic risks of a Brexit, a poll suggests.

The survey, prepared for ITV, signals that a hard line from the UK government on issues such as immigration, which could mean losing access to the single market, would be backed by British voters.

Some 56pc of those surveyed by market research company Survation stated the need for the UK to be able to make its own decisions was more important that any economic risks from pulling out of the EU.

More people approve of the way Ms May is handling the issue so far than disapprove, with her approval figure at 58pc. A small majority of those questioned would vote for a Brexit again if another referendum was held, at 47pc versus 46pc, with 7pc undecided.

Irish Independent

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