Former Foreign Secretary David Owen last night advised voters to leave the European Union (EU), to avoid “being sucked into a United States of Europe” which faces an “impending collapse.” He also challenged President Obama’s intervention in the referendum campaign.
Lord Owen was the Minister of State for Health and Social Security in the Labour government when the last European referendum took place. As a former Europhile he then campaigned to remain in the European Economic Community, as the EU then was, but now appreciates that he was wrong. Of major concern to him is the EU spreading its “tentacles” into the NHS, as Breitbart London previously reported.
In 1977 he became the youngest Foreign Secretary for over 40 years, and it is that experience that informs his criticism of President Obama’s intervention in the EU referendum campaign. According to Wales Online, Lord Owen said:
“There has been a long tradition that U.S. Presidential visits to this country do not take place close to General Election periods. The reasons for this are obvious and hitherto scrupulously observed by Washington DC. They also govern Prime Ministers visiting the United States.
“In the autumn of 1978 as Foreign Secretary I mused about possibly inviting President Carter to repeat his very successful 1977 visit to Britain before October 1979. But I was wisely reminded that there had been some criticism of the only precedent of a visit close to a likely election when President Eisenhower met with Harold Macmillan on a visit to Britain from August 27 to September 2, 1959 with an election being called for October 8. President Carter played these sort of issues by the book and so I quickly shelved the idea.”
Lord Owen suggested it is in light of this foreign policy history, and the failure of the UK and U.S. to bring about reform of the eurozone, that many British people are “puzzled, to say the least” by President Obama’s intervention urging the UK to remain in the EU.
Another reason he said people may be confused is that the “impending collapse of the eurozone” would impact the U.S. far less than it would the UK.
However, Lord Owen is in no doubt as to the source of President Obama’s remarks about post-Brexit trade, having told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they were “crafted” in Downing Street.