Over 100 Members of Parliament (MPs) have signed a letter warning it would be “highly damaging” for President Obama to publicly back Britain remaining in the European Union (EU) when he visits next month ahead of June’s referendum.
The letter was coordinated by former Tory Cabinet Minister and prominent Brexit supporter, Dr. Liam Fox MP. Addressed to the U.S. Ambassador to the UK —Matthew Barzun — it warns the U.S. government that any intervention from President Obama would undermine the “validity of the result” of the EU referendum and its “acceptance by the British people”.
As part of a wider trip to Europe the American president will visit Britain on April 22-23. During that time he will have a private luncheon with the Queen at Windsor Castle and hold a press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron. The Sunday Times reports he will also attend a rally for the EU referendum ‘Remain’ campaign.
The letter was signed by a serving Foreign Office minister, James Duddridge MP, and the serving Minister of State for Communities and Resilience, Mark Francois MP, as well as former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan MP. MPs from the Labour Party, UKIP and the Democratic Unionist Party also signed. It says:
It has long been the established practice not to interfere in the domestic political affairs of our allies and we hope that this will continue.
While the U.S. administration may have a view on the desirability or otherwise of Britain’s continued membership of the EU, any explicit intervention in the debate is likely to be extremely controversial and potentially damaging.
We hope that you will persuade President Obama from becoming embroiled in what is a highly delicate, sensitive and important issue for the British people.
Chris Grayling MP, the Leader of the House of Commons did not signed the letter, but sympathises with the sentiment, saying:
“It is important to say that this is a British matter. It is not for others around the world to try to encourage people to vote one way or the other.
“It is really quite important that our allies look at this as a decision for British people. Whether we are inside or outside the European Union does not affect our relationship with the United States.”
The latest message directed at President Obama comes less than a week after five other MPs and Nigel Farage wrote to President Obama urging him to stay out of Britain’s EU referendum, as reported by Breitbart London.
That letter followed a petition looking to ban President Obama from making an intervention in the EU referendum which has received over 26,000 signatures to date. If the petition receives over 100,000 names, it should be debated in the House of Commons.