Britain is voting with its feet on its link with the European Union as per the referendum trends today and during this period a number of politicians and business leaders have expressed their views in India and abroad.
Britain is voting with its feet on its link with the European Union as per the referendum trends today and during this period a number of politicians and business leaders have expressed their views in India and abroad. Check out their take on the possibility of Brexit actually happening:
“Thank you everyone who voted to keep Britain stronger, safer and better off in Europe – and to the thousands of Remain campaigners around the UK,” British PM David Cameron said on Facebook. Earlier Cameron had said, “The alternative was a leap in the dark that would hurt trade and investment, bring about a self-inflicted recession, undermine the pound and push up shopping bills and the cost of holidays.”
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today declined to comment on the current trends of ‘Brexit’. “I think when the counting is on and you have close margin of results coming in you cannot expect me to comment at this state,” he said. Jaitley was replying to a question on how concerned India is about the ‘Brexit’ results at a business seminar.
Britain’s 1.2 million strong Indian-origin voters, the biggest ethnic majority-group in the country, are expected to vote against Brexit. High-profile Indian-origin politicians in the UK echoed this divide, with UK employment minister Priti Patel and Infosys chief Narayan Murthy’s son-in-law Rishi Sunak batting for Brexit, while other senior MPs like Keith Vaz and Virendra Sharma firmly for Remain.
On the other end of the political spectrum, Alok Sharma, Conservative party MP and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Infrastructure Envoy to India, set up a cross-party “British Indians for IN” group to ensure the undecided votes went in favour of Remain. “A vote to remain guarantees us continued unfettered access to Europe’s free trade single market of 500 million consumers, meaning lower prices, more jobs, increased investment and financial security. It also means a seat at the table as the EU negotiates some of the biggest trade deals in history – such as the ongoing discussions with the United States, China and India,” he had claimed.
On the Brexit end, Priti Patel – Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion – “Our curry houses are becoming the victims of the EU’s uncontrolled immigration rules. By voting to leave the EU we can take back control of our immigration policies, save our curry houses and join the rest of the world,” she said during her campaign.
The curry clash went on to become a central feature of the campaign, with Vaz strongly countering Patel’s argument: “I was furious to see Priti Patel claiming that leaving the EU and shutting the door on immigrants from Poland and elsewhere would save Britain’s curry houses. This is divide and rule politics of the worst kind”.
“One can’t deny it’s a real kick to the British establishment because all three party leaders have favoured a Remain vote, business on the whole favoured a Remain vote, the financial leaders have favoured a Remain vote. The people have not taken their advice,” said Professor Vernon Bogdanor, a politics expert who tutored Cameron at Oxford University.
“I now dare to dream that the dawn is coming up on an independent United Kingdom,” Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party said. He called on Prime Minister David Cameron to resign immediately in the event of a Leave vote.
“There is a disaffected vote,” said John McDonnell, finance spokesman for the opposition Labour Party. “People are concerned about how they have been treated with austerity and how their wages have been frozen for about seven years. A lots of people’s grievances have come out and we have got to start listening to them.”
Leading political analyst and pollster John Curtice said: “At the moment, at least, we have more places where Leave are doing better than expected than places where Remain are doing better than expected, and if that pattern continues then Leave are going to win the referendum.”
(With inputs from Reuters, PTI)