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European Union decision to leave will be “final and irreversible”, foreign secretary warns East Anglian doubters

14:11 21 February 2016

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Yui Mok/PA Wire

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Yui Mok/PA Wire

East Anglia’s European Union doubters can be persuaded to remain by pragmatic arguments, the foreign secretary has said.

Speaking to regional journalists today, Philip Hammond warned a vote to leave would be “final and irreversible”, but raised the prospect of another referendum in 20 or 30 years time if the European Union was heading in the wrong direction.

His comments came as the firing gun was formally started on the referendum campaign this weekend as prime minister David Cameron announced it would be held on June 23 after securing a reform deal with other European Union leaders late on Friday night.

Mr Hammond, who will campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union, backed the prime minister’s deal, but said the government would carry on arguing for reform.

“Nothing says that we can’t ask ourselves this question again in the future in 20 or 30 years time if we find that Europe is not heading in the direction we want it to,” he said. “Leaving the European Union would be final and irreversible and if we find outside life is colder and more inhospitable than some people had imagined it would be too late to do anything about it.”

He added: “If we vote to leave the EU, we will have to negotiate with the remaining 27 the kind of terms of access they would be prepared to give us to the single market and what price they will extract from us for that access. I don’t believe the other 27 countries will be driven by a desire to see Britain as successful and prosperous as possible outside the EU. I don’t think they will be looking to do us any favours or to cut any sweet deals with Briatin. They will be looking to drive a very hard bargain with us for whatever access we are able to secure to the single market.”

Questioned about the Eastern Daily Press and East Anglian Daily Times European Union poll which found 38pc of 1,280 people we spoke to in the region would vote to leave the European Union, Mr Hammond said he believed only about 15pc to 20pc of the electorate were determined to leave come what may, with a similar number backing the union regardless of the negotiation. But he said he believed the majority of people in this country were somewhere in the middle.

“It is clear to me there has never been a passion or enthusiasm for Europe in the way there has been in some of the EU countries. It has never been a grand project people have felt an emotional attachment to. It has always been a pragmatic project. It has always been: ‘does this make us more safe? Does this make us more secure? Does this create more and better jobs? Does it add to our economic growth, does it make the British people better off, and those people, which I suspect are 60pc to 65pc of the population, will weigh up using their heads the economic cost of being outside the EU, the security cost, the cost in terms of British influence and leadership in the world, and will set that against the benefits of leaving.”

Ministers have split on the issue of whether to campaign to remain or leave the European Union with employment minister and Essex MP Priti Patel, announcing she would be in the out of the European Union camp.

Mr Hammond said: “It is incumbent upon all of us to conduct the debate in a civilised way. To be respectful of those with a different view and to argue the arguments and keep it an argument about the case not the people. Afterwards, whatever the outcome of the referendum, we are clear Britain needs a strong and united Conservative government to complete the job of rebuilding our economy - a job that we have been engaged upon for the last six years as current growth rates and employment statistics show. A job that we are achieving with considerable success.”

32 comments

  • European Union. In. Without any respect, anyone who thinks otherwise whilst entitled to their opinion is sadly lacking in ambition for this country and our future generations. We are allowing our Politicians to play a sad game with the people of the Uk. Ever since the weakness of the John Major days and the greedy and selfish politics of 14 years of Tony Blair both the economy and the respect we had around the world has gone from not so good to awful. Without the efforts made by our Queen and her family over many years we would have seen the Commonwealth disintigrate. I am not the greatest fan of David Cameron, however since the last election and the unnessary and expensive Scottish Referendum he at last appears to be excerting some real leadership skills plus strengh of character and true beliefs for the future of our Country. A number of his Tory colleagues are not supporting his efforts to ensure we remain alongside our biggest trading partners with a stronger voice or on the way we all move forward. Why? They prefer to sit in their comfort zones fending off criticisms aimed at them with meaningless replies. Thinking only of their own benefits whilst exploiting the lives of the average Brit. The labour party under J.C. only want us in for one reason, to reap the benefits they receive particulary the Euro MP.s. Low Tax Highly inflated salaries out of Brussels. Regular unregulated expenses paid for meetings and visits which they either do not attend or if they do, make very little input of any substance. 20 meetings to make decisions which could usually be made in 2. Full of self importance and showing arrogance to the people they are meant to serve. Yes the European Union has far to much bureacracy and the people working in Brussels need to be paying proper levels of Taxation. We have contributed to this by not demanding that our Euro MP,s and succesive govenments take a much stronger and more forceful leadership role and ensure changes in efficiency were made. From inside with our Northern European Parners, stronger leadership and some real effort from our Politicians we could ensure this happens. Firstly as a nation we need to make a lot more effort to understand Europe, appreciate the potential we could be throwing away and ensure that our MP.s all become much more responsible with the purpose of not only making their own operations more honest and efficient but also ensuring that the future of Europe with the UK has its main emphasis on Trade , Business and Defence.

    Report this comment

    ianbrdl

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • @Andy - You know that if I said that to you you'd be up in arms about the personal insults etc...but that's your style friend not mine. I read the Guardian and have natural inclination to the left of centre, that's not a bad thing, it's my preference. It's interesting how those right of centre (or the hard right wingers on here; of course I'll need to add here that I'm not referring to you here, I don't want to upset your delicate temperament) suggest that anyone who approaches articles and politics with a liberal or left leaning mind-set is obviously wrong at best, or foolish or worse. Without the Guardian we'd still have the News of the World, for that reason alone the paper should be lauded. The Guardian has an international reputation for investigative journalism and it's integrity, see Edward Snowden and the US PRISM surveillance program. I don't know about you, but I value my freedom and my legal right to communicate with my associates freely as I see fit. We have a right to this privacy and it was being illegally eroded by government surveillance. Without the Guardian exposing this story we would know nothing about it and we would still be being illegally snooped on. The Guardian was voted newspaper of the year 2014 by the British Press Association, this is as good a judge of their good reputation as anything. In terms of factual accuracy, The Guardian and also the Daily Mail etc are signed up to the IPSO and before that the PCC. Both bodies have clear guidelines on accuracy. Both state that 'The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact'. So to address your final point about not reading either of them [Guardian or Daily Mail] for a factual comment, you don't to worry about that. The real issue, and this is my observation (so to be clear this is conjecture), is that you think you are smarter than all these journalist types and as a great independent thinker you don't need to seek views of opinion of inferior minds. That's a shame, but good luck to you. As an aside it would be interesting to know if you don't use the papers and we know you don't trust the beeb, where do you get your information from? The fact remains that report pointed to by NFN can be relied upon for factual accuracy and the slur subsequently made by Brexitnow (or Billy Smith, Alfred Smith etc etc..) is just that. Completely unfounded blind shouting down from a boorish lout.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Wednesday, February 24, 2016

  • R, if you really believe that of the Guardian, it probably says a lot about your political preferences. It is a publication that has failed to run at a profit for a very long time and relies heavily on government job advertising to keep going even with the subsidies it gets from elsewhere. It is also touching to believe that newspapers have to be factual. Can both the Mail and Guardian be correct at the same time. Really??? As for the Guardian having the best reputation, best laugh I have had for a very long time. I would not read either of them for a factual comment on anything other than a sports score.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

  • @brexitnow - the Guardian is a well respected newspaper with,arguably, the best reputation in the uk for integrity and honesty. I appreciate that both the concept of integrity and honest will be alien to you but you can take it from me that they are good things. Factual reporting in uk newspapers is closely monitored. Whilst certain papers may have political leanings (guardian, liberal left of centre or the daily mail, hysterical right wing) that doesn't cloud the issue that statements of fact need to be verified and coroborated. It's disappointing, but predictable, that you lash out and poo poo anything that disagrees with your own bn,p driven view of the world. Perhaps you ought to broaden your horizons and consider other people's point of view rather than hurrying to entrench your mindset and hurl abuse. What a shame.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

  • Has anyone stopped to think that with the EU teetering on the brink we need to be the first to get to the door. Within a couple of years it wont be a matter of Brexit it will be a matter of Form an orderly queue for the lifeboats the ship is sinking. And we need to be out there having established our links with the real world that does exist outside Europe (I assure those Inners that it does).

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

  • @normal4 norfolk . Do you honestly expect us to believe anything what the guardian has printed . A hard left wing newspaper totally biased in labours favour . Just look at how many people buy this rag? Its not really a newspaper . More like a comic

    Report this comment

    brexitnow

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • @normal4 norfolk . Do you honestly expect us to believe anything what the guardian has printed . A hard left wing newspaper totally biased in labours favour . Just look at how many people buy this rag? Its not really a newspaper . More like a comic

    Report this comment

    brexitnow

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • Dear EDP, would it be possible to print the official campaign leaflets from the 1975 EEC referendum? If you did we could quash this often stated but never true notion that those who voted in 1975 did know that their decision would lead to the current EU. Notwithstanding the name change from EEC to EU the arc of progress was clear to see and clearly signalled by the 'no' campaign. The information can be found on the civitas web,site or alternative search online (on the most popular search engine) for '1975 no campaign leaflet'. Here are a few choice quotes, '..our right, by our votes, to change policies and laws in Britain will steadily dwindle. Unlike British laws, those of the Common Market - which will take precedence over our own laws - can only be changed if all the other members of the Common Market agree.' Or perhaps most tellingly 'The real aim of the Market is, of course, to become one single country in which Britain would be reduced to a mere province. The plan is to have a Common Market Parliament by 1978 or shortly thereafter. Laws would be passed by that Parliament which would be binding on our country. No parliament elected by the British people could change those laws'. Finally ' Unless you want to be ruled more and more by a Continental Parliament in which Britain would be a small minority, you should vote NO'. I've no problem with people having a view or changing their minds, but I think we should draw a line at allowing hypocrites to say that when they voted in 1975 it wasn't obvious what they were voting for. They really should admit that they voted yes in 1975 to improve their own prospects and that now they are 41 years nearer to death and the most productive parts of their working lives are behind them they now simply don't care about the future financial prospects of the generations which followed them. They are only concerned with ensuring that their pensions continue to roll in and to hell with the rest of us.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • Brexit - sorry to burst your bubble but - from the Guardian "At least 30,000 Britons on unemployment benefit in EU, Guardian research shows, Unemployed Britons in richer EU states outnumber claimants from those countries in UK" and so on - actually UK nationals in the EU more or less balances those EU nationals in the UK - there are 1M in Spain alone. Inconvenient truths. I'm leaving this just cant stand bad facts.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • its simple . The EU exports more to us than we import to them . They are not going to cut us off if we leave . They have too much took lose in these hard economic times . We also have according to reports 2 million EU workers in the uk . whom many are being supported with uk benefits.We certainly have the upper hand and thats why many were astonished when cameron came back with this shoddy deal . We have nothing to fear at all from leaving this corrupt union

    Report this comment

    brexitnow

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • GOOD !....We need to have control of our own Borders and only let those people in whom are going to make a positive contribution to our Country !....we need an Immigration Policy like Australia, Canada and New Zealand...where particular skilled people are welcomed !...and think of all the Investment in our Country we can do with our huge EU Contributions that we will save !..and not see it wasted on silly things like 'Straight Bananas' !.....

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • The increasing dysfunctional rhetoric and noise of some (not all) of the outers is starting to make me laugh. Rational views I can listen too - or even a simple '"I want to leave but am happy to pay the price" but comments such as Brexits take no account of the advantages od the EU and the disadvantages of being outside. By way of example - if we're talking Norfolk - just how many of our farms can actually compete on true world markets without subsidy and protection - (think those huge prairies elsewhere in the world). Probably very if any. I'm going to leave these comments alone - too idealistic for me.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • who's the idiot on here saying we could come back . What country in their right mind would want to come back to this mess . The EU is on the verge of financial and democratic collapse . .The sooner we get out the better . VOTE OUT

    Report this comment

    brexitnow

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • I certainly hope that it will be final and irreversible. We need to get out and we don't want to end up paying billions just to trade with them. They need our trade more than we need theirs. In 1975 I voted to remain in 'The European Common Market'. Few people then suspected the erosion of our sovereignty and I would never have agreed to any of the subsequent treaties which sold us out without any chance to vote on them. We were conned then and will not be conned now.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Lad

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • A definite vote to leave for me. The inept handling of the migrant crisis shows how poor the EU is at decision making. A ring of naval ships across the Libyan ports could and should have sent the migrant boats back to port, saving many drownings and the internal fighting between nations about who is accepting whom, along with a policy of accepting genuine applicants and families instead of European politicians throwing borders wide open and then panicking afterwards.

    Report this comment

    NorwichAbs

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Does Philip Hammond think we are so niev Get out the EU We will still be doing trade with the EU & most countries of the world , can you see BMW etc saying because you're not in the EU we won't be selling you cars ... Lol we pay more for cars than in Europe anyway , that include most things .. So nothing new there , the only people who are keen for us to stay are polictians and businesses who have fingers in the pie

    Report this comment

    Norwich

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Irongloves - Bill - If we leave the EU then there will have to be new treaty on trade - there is absolutely no reason (and several why not) it won't be 'free trade - aka no tariffs - probably end up much as per the same as Japan and USA - 3.5 - 15% or so depending on what etc. We can still trade but just not on our normal (0%) old terms. Norway and Switzerland pay dues to the EU (and accept EU market laws, free-movement etc.) to enable them to free-trade! The last calculation I saw vs the Norwegian model was that a similar UK arrangement would cost us 94% of our present fees with of course no say. Frankly I don't really care what the result is - we can move - but please keep your eyes open on the likely downsides and is it worth the risk. Not scaremongering - just not as PM said a 'leap in the dark'.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • We are all going to get bored rigid with the media`s obsession with the referendum and as far as I am concerned , June can`t come soon enough. It will be a case of, "events dear boy," that will determine the out of the vote. David Cameron will therefore be keeping all his fingers crossed that nothing untoward happens in Europe between now and the 23rd June. Just one big bad news story could scupper the Remain campaign.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Any suggestion that if we leave we would be required to pay to trade with the EU is scaremongering. A free trading agreement would form part of the withdrawal because the alternative would be worse for the EU than ourselves. It would mean that all those Companies in the EU currently trading with British Companies would be prevented from further trading. This would mean laying off parts of their work forces and in cases where the British firm was their main customer could lead to going into liquidation with tax revenue loss to their governments and an increase in unemployment. The EU could not allow this situation to arise and a free trade agreement would follow.

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • What is never mentioned that there are small counties on our doorstep which are not in the Eu and not subject to Free movement and not subject to EU regulations yet are in the EU Free trade bloc these countries are the Channel Islands and IOW

    Report this comment

    Bill Jackson

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Cameron is now finished. Boris has joined the LEAVE camp

    Report this comment

    Bill Jackson

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Its a definite OUT for me.

    Report this comment

    david peters

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Now that the dust has settled from the negotiations, it's becoming clear from the German Chancellor's and French President's reported views that substantive change isn't on offer if we remain in. Better for us to be leave to be a strong ally and close partner of a more cohesive EU than a constantly uncomfortable and unhelpful member. If we vote to leave, ever closer political union, a EuroArmy, Franco-German leadership of the Eurozone and a host of Good Things for the EU suddenly become in our interests because they strengthen Europe.

    Report this comment

    Jack1956

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • ian duncan smith has said staying in leaves us more open to a paris style attack .Boris johnson has now joined the out campaign . He said the EU is totally out of control and we need to get our democratic right back to decide our own future and laws . Most tory mps support the out campaign and many from the other parties . . VOTE OUT

    Report this comment

    brexitnow

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • I do hope that we vote to leave and then we can not get back in. As for payment to the EU if we leave, if Cameron, et al decide we should pay £10.5bn a year just to trade with the EU, I doubt that the conservative party would survive. Same for Labour too if that is what they want! Good points Daisy. We actually have no credible foreign policy at the moment and this will get worse. No matter what we want, the EU has the last word. It is their version of democracy.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • More corporate spin and B....t aimed at keeping under us EU rules and law.I note the top greedy companies like Vodaphone and BT ( Those with the worst customer service!!) are trying to get in the act by scaremongering. Ignore this lot and vote out,then we can decide our own future.

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • So? We have drifted into the European Union which was not what I voted to join in 1975. One only has to look at the opinions of German and French members to see that they favour ever closer union.My European history is shaky, but surely being part of some cross nation empire is part and parcel of their past ? Hapsburg Bourbon or whichever. We have lost self determination and our governments have been weaker as a consequence. I dont accept for a moment that our security would be weakened and since we do a fair bit of trade with non EU nations I dont see a long term economic problem.I suspect if we leave Denmark will have a hard look at the benefits of staying in. Then there is the money. We pay in more than we get back. Seems the other nations which are also propping up EU spending in those Eastern European nations are happy to lose our contributions but I think we should welcome being able to spend our taxes how we want in the UK. As for foreign policy-seems to be determined by what suits Merkel.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Irongloves - true what you say but I believe the calculation was that we'd be still paying about 94% of what we do now as fees to be 'out' but have free access to the single market. Can't I imagine we'd get back in on same terms , rebates etc., and damage would have already been done to services etc. Europe of course might not want us back as just too difficult.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Adding to my previous Post, having let in Countries like Greece and Bulgaria etc I'm certain they would fall over themselves to welcome us back in. The problem is that many will be swayed by this sort of false spin, particularly by a Cabinet Minister.

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • To say that a decision to leave the EU is final and irreversible is simply untrue. He knows or should know that Article 50 (5) of the Lisbon Treaty specifically provides that a Nation that leaves the EU can apply to rejoin. It would be treated in the same way as an application by a Nation who had not previously been a Member following the procedure In Article 49. True we would have to negotiate terms of reentry but that is unlikely onerous as he wants us to believe because they don't want us to leave in the first place and would welcome our huge financial contribution flowing again into the EU. The moral of this is don't believe a Politician but make your own research.

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • Ted - Highly unlikely - much more likely there wont a be a UK (Scotland will leave). I suppose England could then apply in extremis to be a 51st unincorporated US state ala Puerto Rico. Funny.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • once we have left others will follow, doubt there will be an e u in 5 yrs time

    Report this comment

    ted

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

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