Five Members of the British Parliament and a Member of the European Parliament have written to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to stay out of Britain’s referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union (EU).
Peter Bone (Conservative), Kate Hoey (Labour), Kelvin Hopkins (Labour), Tom Pursglove (Conservative), Sammy Wilson (Democratic Unionist Party), and UKIP leader Nigel Farage have co-authored a letter to President Obama warning him that an intervention by a foreign leader could have the opposite effect than intended.
The letter states: “With so much at stake, it is imperative that the question of exiting the European Union is not one answered by foreign politicians or outside interests, but rather by the British people who must ultimately live with change or the status quo.
The British politicians declare: “issues of national sovereignty must be decided exclusively by the people of the United Kingdom”. They state: “even a passive diplomatic recommendation in the matter of our national decision will receive the opposite of the intended effect.”
“The referendum vote is an act of democracy in its most direct form, and the question of whether or not to leave the EU is a rare political topic that is not owned by any one political party. This is a chance for the British people to choose the path of their country. Interfering in our debate over national sovereignty would be an unfortunate milestone at the end of your term as President.”
The open letter is being circulated to U.S. politicians of all stripes, running in Politico magazine, the Weekly Standard and Roll Call – with hard copies delivered to all Members of Congress in the Senate and House of Representatives as well as to the White House itself and Cabinet Offices located within the administrative Beltway of Washington, D.C.
Kate Hoey MP said of the warning: “We felt it is important the President of the United States is aware that feelings will run high in the UK if he chooses to make an intervention. We have chosen to respectfully request he recognises matters of sovereignty are best left to the citizens directly affected. We would certainly never think of visiting the United States and telling the US public how to vote in an election or the amendment of their constitution.”
Peter Bone MP said: “Whatever the President perceives the interests of the US to be it would be better for the relationship between our countries and his reputation with the British people if he kept his counsel to himself.”
The warning comes as nearly 25,000 Britons have signed a petition looking to ban U.S. President Barack Obama from making an intervention in the referendum. If the petition receives over 100,000 signatures, it is likely to be debated in the House of Commons.