UK likely to go for 'soft' Brexit to stay close to EU: David Cameron

Topics Brexit

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said that most likely the UK will choose a ‘soft’ Brexit, thereby opting to stay close to the European Union (EU) based on a pre-negotiated deal.

He reasoned that if the UK remains a close ally of the EU and leaves this European economic grouping based on negotiated Customs duties with the member states, the effect of Brexit will not have much of an effect on the UK. But if it chooses a ‘hard’ Brexit, it might harm the UK economy in the longer run.

“If we leave without a deal, there can be some friction in the longer term,” Cameron said at an interactive session during the annual general meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Cameron advocated that although the EU, from originally being an economic union, gradually turned out to become a political one, he preferred the UK to stay within the EU as “staying and fighting was a better option” for his country’s interest.

The UK’s primary concern was rising levels of migrants to this country as the EU allows free movement within the allied countries. Cameron, who was this country’s Prime Minister on a ticket from the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2016, also did not like the way the EU had shaped up as a political union.

The current British Prime Minister, Theresa May, while justifying Brexit, had stated that although the UK is necessarily a European country, it has “always looked beyond Europe to the wider world”.

“That is why we are one of the most racially diverse countries in Europe, one of the most multicultural members of the European Union, and why — whether we are talking about India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, countries in Africa or those that are closer to home in Europe — so many of us have close friends and relatives from across the world,” she had said.

Cameron opined that Brexit in effect is “poisoning British politics” and regretted the result of the historic referendum when the country voted to go off the EU map. 

“We have taken a wrong path, but it is a legitimate view,” he said.

Support for free trade

Cameron made it clear that he is in support of free trade, and protectionism will only dampen the global economy.

“Instead of a trade war, we should be trading more,” he said, adding free trade has been one of the key success mantras for the UK to emerge as a strong, global power. 

During the colonial era, the British Empire had spanned across the US, Indian subcontinent, Asia, Africa, and Australia and it was often said that the Sun never set on the British Empire because of its vastness across continents.

He also took a dig at US President Donald Trump, who is pitching for trade tariffs.

Cameron stated “maybe Trump is only making a strong tactical move for a strong tactical gain,” which Cameron is okay within the short run. But in case Trump’s move hints at the US resorting to protectionism, then it is a serious concern as the other major economies might also follow suit.

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