Britain voted to leave the European Union thanks to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s “shit campaign” to persuade them to stay, Germany’s European Commissioner has said.
Günther Oettinger, who serves as the EU’s Telecoms and IT Commissioner, said Brussels must accept Britain’s vote and live with the consequences.
“We have to accept the democratic decision and the shit campaign of Cameron,” he said, adding: “I’m sorry, that’s life and shit happens.”
Speaking to the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, Mr Oettinger echoed the view of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has called on the EU accept that Brexit will happen and deal with the consequences.
His comments come as the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox gave the strongest indication yet that the British government will pursue a “hard Brexit” strategy and leave the EU’s single market.
Visiting the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Fox said Britain would pursue a “more liberalised trade agenda” with the government “free to shape a more transparent, open and liberal trading environment”.
Although Dr Fox stopped short of calling for Britain to leave the single market, his comments appear incompatible with continued membership.
He was expected to go much further in his speech, but The Times reports his comments were heavily vetted by the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street as Theresa May tries to keep control of what ministers say before the government formally announces its Brexit strategy.
Meanwhile, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to offer Britain a new treaty deal as a way of persuading it not the leave the EU.
Mr Sarkozy, who is trying to regain the presidency next year, said he would fly to London immediately upon retaking office.
“I would tell the British, you’ve gone out, but we have a new treaty on the table so you have an opportunity to vote again,” he said.
“But this time not on the old Europe, on the new Europe. Do you want to stay? If yes, so much the better. Because I can’t accept to lose Europe’s second-largest economy while we are negotiating with Turkey over its EU membership. And if it’s no, then it’s a real no. You’re in or you’re out.”