Britain will never leave the European Union (EU) because the process is too complicated, an academic has claimed. His comments prompted UK Independence Party MEPs to warn that Project Fear is “alive and kicking”.
Professor Thom Brooks, who is head of Law at the University of Durham and advised the Electoral Commission on the wording of the referendum question, said he believed that the government would u-turn on their promise to take the country out of the EU following the results of last June’s referendum, and that a second referendum would be offered instead.
“I do not think Article 50 will be invoked,” he said. “The closer the government looks at what is actually involved in leaving then the less likely they are going to be jumping ship.
“There is a 42-year evolving legal relationship that is not so easy to unpick. It is an absolutely massive task.”
Speaking to The Independent, Prof. Brooks added that he believed a hasty exit from the EU could “let down the next generation”.
“We really need a clearer sense of what Brexit ‘is’ as we still have little idea about what it looks like,” he said. “This continued uncertainty does little good – and any benefits appear speculative”.
Prime Minister Theresa May met with members of her cabinet at her country residence, Chequers, today to discuss how to proceed with exiting the EU. Ministers were asked to draw up blueprints for their own ministry on how to best exploit the opportunities that leaving the EU offered, ahead of the meeting.
Upon succeeding her Conservative colleague David Cameron as Prime Minister following a brief leadership election over the summer, Ms. May sought to reassure pro-Brexit voters that the referendum result would be honoured, saying “Brexit means Brexit”.
But Prof. Brooks dismissed her statement, telling MailOnline the pledge was similar to saying “gobbledygook is gobbledygook”, and that it did not necessarily mean exiting the EU.
He added: “I expect May will have Boris [Johnson MP] and other Brexiteers submit a plan for a second referendum.
“This will be presented as the government’s best efforts to honour the previous referendum result – however far short it may fall of Britain leaving the EU altogether.
“This second referendum will either see Britain changing its mind on Brexit or voting for something other than a full withdrawal.”
Commenting on Prof. Brooke’s opinions, UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge said it is clear Project Fear is still “alive and kicking”, adding that it was the professor who was talking “gobbledygook” as UKIP would strive to ensure Brexit will be a reality.
He said that the time had come for the government to “lead Britain out of the EU.
“Rhetoric will never replace action and I call on the Prime Minister, and indeed her Government, to get on with pushing ahead with what the majority of British people want and that is Brexit.”
He added: “But, I believe that it is Professor Brooks who is talking EU gobbledygook by warning that invoking Article 50 could ‘let down the next generation’.
“A Britain outside the EU would be freer, more democratic and a sovereign nation that would not be straightjacketed by interference and diktats from the European Union.”