Blindfold Brexit: 43 British Ambassadors demand clarity and make the case for a new public vote - People's Vote

Blindfold Brexit: 43 British Ambassadors demand clarity and make the case for a new public vote

With just 43 days until the deadline for Britain leaving the European Union, a joint letter from 43 former British Ambassadors and High Commissioners is published today calling on Theresa May to change direction on Brexit.

The letter, signed by many of the most senior diplomats of their generation, says it would be wrong to leave the EU on the basis of a political declaration that offers no clarity about the United Kingdom’s future relationship with our closest neighbours and biggest trading partner.

It urges Parliament to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to seek to extend the Article 50 deadline and states that the current “Brexit fiasco” makes “a powerful argument” to hand the issue back to the people and ask them whether they want the negotiated Brexit deal or would prefer to stay in the European Union.

Signatories are led by Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the former Permanent Representative to the European Union and Ambassador to the United States of America, who today declares his support for the People’s Vote campaign for the first time. Others include Lord John Kerr, the author of Article 50; Lord David Hannay, Permanent Representative to the EEC under Margaret Thatcher’s government; and Lord Peter Ricketts, the former Ambassador to France.

 

In the letter the ambassadors say:

“As former diplomats who have served around the world, we have a clear understanding of what contributes to Britain’s influence in the world. Our advice to Theresa May today is clear: we should not leave the EU when we have no clarity about our final destination. Instead we must use the mechanisms at our disposal, above all we must seek to extend the Article 50 negotiating period.”

“It is clear that Brexit has turned into a national crisis. There is no possible deal that will be a sensible alternative to the privileged one we have today as members of the EU with a seat at the table, inside the Single Market and Customs Union but outside the Euro and Schengen.”

 

On a People’s Vote, the ambassadors say:

“There is now, in addition to extending Article 50, a powerful argument to go back to the people and ask them whether they want the negotiated Brexit deal or would prefer to stay in the European Union.

“Our country’s national interest must always be paramount. The Brexit fiasco has already weakened the UK's standing in the world. We strongly advocate a change of direction before it is too late.”

 

The full text of the letter and all 43 signatories are below:

Dear Sir

If the Prime Minister’s deal is passed in Parliament, it will not be the end of Brexit but will in fact mark the start of year upon on year of negotiation and renegotiation – truly a ‘Brexternity’ of endless uncertainty about our future for both citizens and businesses alike.

As former diplomats who have served around the world, we have a clear understanding of what contributes to Britain’s influence in the world. Our advice to Theresa May today is clear: we should not leave the EU when we have no clarity about our final destination. Instead we must use the mechanisms at our disposal, above all we must seek to extend the Article 50 negotiating period.

It is clear that Brexit has turned into a national crisis. There is no possible deal that will be a sensible alternative to the privileged one we have today as members of the EU with a seat at the table, inside the Single Market and Customs Union but outside the Euro and Schengen. There is now, in addition to extending Article 50, a powerful argument to go back to the people and ask them whether they want the negotiated Brexit deal or would prefer to stay in the European Union.

Our country’s national interest must always be paramount. The Brexit fiasco has already weakened the UK's standing in the world. We strongly advocate a change of direction before it is too late.

 

Signed:

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Permanent Representative to the European Union 2000 -2003 and Ambassador to the United States 2007 – 2012

Lord John Kerr, Permanent Representative to the European Economic Community/European Union 1990 – 1995 and Ambassador to the United States 1995 – 1997

Lord David Hannay, Permanent Representative to the European Economic Community 1985 – 1990; Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York 1990 - 1995

Lord Peter Ricketts, Ambassador to France 2012 - 2016

Sir Christopher Mallaby, Ambassador to Germany 1988 – 1992 and France 1993 – 1996

Dame Mariot Leslie, former Permanent Representative to NATO and former Ambassador to Norway.

Sir Ivor Roberts, Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1994 – 1997; Ireland 1999 – 2003 and Italy 2003 – 2006

Sir Roderic Lyne, UK Ambassador to Russia 2000 – 2004

Christopher Prentice, Ambassador to Jordan 2002 – 2006; Iraq 2007 – 2009 and Italy 2011 – 2016

Sir Bryan Cartledge, Ambassador to Hungary 1980 – 1983 and the Soviet Union 1985 – 1988

Sir Brian Fall, High Commissioner to Canada 1989 – 1992 and Ambassador to Russia 1992 - 1995

Sir John Birch, Ambassador to Hungary 1989 – 1995

Basil Eastwood, Ambassador to Syria 1996 -2000 and Switzerland 2001 – 2004

Nigel Thorpe, Ambassador to Hungary 1998 – 2003

Sir Stephen Barrett, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia 1985 - 1988 and to Poland 1988 – 1991

Dame Victoria Sutherland, former Ambassador to Ireland

Francis Cornish, Ambassador to Israel, 1998 – 2001

Oliver Miles, Ambassador to Libya 1984, Luxembourg 1985 – 1988 and Greece 1993 - 1996

Sarah Squire, Ambassador to Estonia 2000 – 2003

Dr William Squire, Ambassador to Israel 1984 – 1988

Sir William Patey, Ambassador to Sudan 2002 – 2005; Iraq 2005 – 2006 and Afghanistan 2010 – 2012

Sir Roger Bone, Ambassador to Sweden 1995 – 1999 and Brazil 1999 – 2004

Andrew Bache, Ambassador to Romania 1992 and Denmark 1996 – 1999

Sir Adrian Beamish, Former Ambassador to Mexico

Sir Michael Burton, Ambassador to the Czech Republic 1994 – 1997

Nigel Haywood, Ambassador to Estonia 2003 -2008 and Governor of the Falkland islands 2010 – 2014

Nicholas Jarrold, Ambassador to Latvia 1996 – 1999 and Croatia 2000 – 2004

Peter Jenkins, Former Ambassador to the WTO in Geneva and to the IEAA and the UN in Vienna 2001 – 2006

Bruce Dinwiddy, High Commissioner to Tanzania  1998 – 2001 and Governor of the Cayman Islands 2002 - 2005

Richard Ralph, Ambassador to Latvia 1993 – 1995, Governor of the Falkland Islands  1996 – 1999; Ambassador to Romania and to Moldova 1999 – 2002 and Ambassador to Peru 2003 – 2006

David Broucher, Ambassador to the Cech Republic 1997 – 2001

Richard Lavers, Ambassador to Ecuador 1993 – 1997 and Guatemala 2001 - 2006

Colin Munro, Ambassador to Croatia 1997 - 2000

Sir Peter Heap, High Commissioner to the Bahamas & Ambassador to Brazil

Hugh Arbuthnott, Ambassador to Romania 1986 – 1989, Ambassador to Portugal 1989 – 1993, Ambassador to Denmark 1993 – 1996

Sir Graham Boyce, Ambassador to Kuwait 1996 – 1999, Ambassador to Egypt 1999 – 2001

Sir David Brighty, Ambassador to Cuba 1989 -1991; Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic/Slovakia 1991 – 1994; Ambassador to Spain 1994 – 1998

Andrew Palmer, Ambassador to Cuba 1986 – 1988

Sir Roger Carrick, Ambassador to Indonesia 1990 – 1994 & High Commissioner to Australia 1994 - 1997

Richard Dalton, Ambassador to Libya 1999 and to Iran 2003 - 2006

Sir David Warren, Ambassador to Japan 2008 – 2012

Nicola Brewer, former High Commissioner to South Africa 2009-2013

Ian Bond, Ambassador to Latvia 2005 - 2007

 

Ends