Thursday 22 March 2018

Cameron: United Kingdom must remain close to Europe, but it will involve 'compromises'

David Cameron
David Cameron

Cormac McQuinn, Political Correspondent, in Brussels

BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the United Kingdom must remain close to Europe, but that it will involve "compromises".

Mr Cameron was speaking after an EU Council meeting dominated by the Brexit referendum result broke up shortly after 11pm.

"Of course it's a sad night for me because I didn't want to be in this position," Mr Cameron told reporters.

"I wanted Britain to stay on as a member of the European Union," he said.

A spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he spoke at the meeting and "emphasised the Irish relationship with UK is at its strongest".

He Mr Kenny stressed the importance of common travel area, peace process and open borders in any future EU deal with Britain.

At the packed press conference Mr Cameron said maintaining a good relationship with EU Member States is  more important for him than staying on as prime minister.

"At the end of the day you fight for what you believe in, if you win, good, and if you lose you have to accept  the verdict and the verdict I accept is not only that Britain has voted to leave the European  Union but that it is right for a fresh leader to come along  and take on that challenge of the next chapter in our country's story."

He said that Britain must remain close to Europe in the future.

"That will involve compromises.

"I don't want to set out what I think they might be. That's going to be a matter for the next Prime Minister.

"But I think that whether you are listening to young people or businesses or the constituent parts of the United Kingdom or our friends and allies around the world from Bangladesh to New Zealand - all of those countries will want to see Britain have a strong relationship with the European Union.

"We need to make those arguments in our own domestic politics as well as around the chancelleries  of Europe. That's something I will certainly do even after I've stopped being Prime Minister," he added.

He finished by joking that it was a "slightly better attended press conference than some of the ones I've done over the last six years."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to deliver a briefing at the end of tomorrow's meeting of the 27 remaining EU member States.

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