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Brexit is gamble of the century: British PM David Cameron

world Updated: Feb 29, 2016 01:47 IST
HT Correspondent
David Cameron

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Is Brexit a leap in the dark or a stride into the light? The question continued to grip political circles as Prime Minister Cameron burnished his pro-EU pitch on Sunday by claiming that leaving the 28-state bloc would be “the gamble of the century”.

Cabinet colleagues and friends have turned foes in the build-up to the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. One of the big beasts in Cameron’s cabinet, Iain Duncan-Smith, went on Sunday television to claim that Brexit will be a “stride into the light”.

The Brexit camp has called the arguments and pessimistic scenarios of the pro-EU camp as “Project Fear”, and insists that Britain is strong enough to flourish outside the EU by pointing to its long history of inventing free trade and forging deals across the globe.

But Cameron wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: “There is no doubt in my mind that the only certainty of exit is uncertainty; that leaving Europe is fraught with risk. Risk to our economy, because the dislocation could put pressure on the pound, on interest rates and on growth”.

“Risk to our cooperation on crime and security matters. And risk to our reputation as a strong country at the heart of the world’s most important institutions. With so many gaps in the “out” case, the decision is clearly one between the great unknown and a greater Britain. A vote to leave is the gamble of the century”.

Mentioning India in his response to signing trade deals after Brexit, Cameron wrote: “Of course, those who advocate leaving Europe say we should just sign trade deals with other parts of the world. But how plausible is it that India, China or Brazil would sign a trade deal with us before they know what sort of new relationship we have with Europe?”

But Duncan-Smith dismissed such claims as scare stories, and told BBC television that Britain was more than capable of prospering outside the EU, which he said was more of a “political project” than a “defined economic entity”.

“The UK has faced bigger trials than this. It has stood alone in war but it has also defined trade around the world. Britain is a phenomenal country. It has stood alone and fought for freedom. It has been a global trader, it can again be a global trader”.

“Why would we have such a low opinion of the British people that we going about talking about a leap in the dark and profound shocks,” he wondered.