LONDON, United Kingdom — The Remain campaign is “contaminating” Britain’s democratic process by relying on “outside money” and foreign interests to tell Brits how to vote, the former Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand has said.
Speaking at Westminster, Winston Peters, who also served as his country’s Foreign Minister and Treasurer, mocked suggestions Britain would suffer outside the European Union (EU) and said the UK would be welcomed by the Commonwealth.
“The British people are standing on the cusp of a truly exciting future,” he said. “It will not be easy to achieve that future but if there’s one nation that can do it, it is the British.”
However, referring to the number of “foreign-owned banks” who favour a Remain vote, the former New Zealand Foreign Minister gave a stark warning:
“If a majority of British people are swayed by the undue influence of outside money, of foreign interests openly contaminating your nation’s referendum, then that would be a British people that frankly the Commonwealth really would not want.”
He also described foreign intervention in favour of the Remain campaign as a “disgraceful trespass and attempted perversion of your democracy” and took aim at foreign leaders such as Barack Obama and New Zealand’s own John Key, both of whom have said Britain should stay in the EU.
“Not one of those leaders asked their people first what they would think about it, or you people at all.”
He also accused Remain campaigners of not understanding history when they claim that Britain would be left isolated after leaving the EU: “Anyone who thinks that the economy of that nation that once created the largest empire in history will be suddenly laid to ruin upon leaving the EU is greatly mistaken.”
As to claims the EU would punish Britain for leaving by excluding it economically, Mr Peters said that it simply does not have the clout to do so.
“A glance at the EU GDP growth figures in recent years suggests that option is not available to the EU,” who will desperately need to cooperate with Britain in order to prop up their own economies.
Once Britain has left the EU, Mr Peters said, its natural home will be in the Commonwealth, a group which it “turned its back on” when it joined the European Economic Community.
“The Commonwealth the UK will find in 2016 is very different to the one it turned its back on in 1973.
“Infrastructure has come on in leaps and bounds, the days of the Commonwealth having nothing but raw commodities are long gone.
“It is now a dynamic powerhouse crossing every time zone and trading session in the world. It covers nearly 30 million square kilometres, almost a quarter of the world’s land area. Its members can be found in every single inhabited continent, and together we have a population of over 2.3 billion.”
“The Commonwealth could be a colossus,” he added.
However, he ruled out an EU-style system of open borders and free movement, saying this was unnecessary for free trade.
Mr Peters is one of the first major foreign statesmen to speak out against the Remain campaign and in favour of British sovereignty.
Last week, Breitbart London reported that Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump said he thought the UK would be better off outside the EU.
“I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe. A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they’re better off without it personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation – just my feeling … I would say that they’re better off without it, but I want them to make their own decision.”