UK's new foreign secretary reiterates EU exit threat

Philip Hammond speaking at Conservative Party Conference 2012 [Photo: Conservatives / Flickr]
Philip Hammond speaking at Conservative Party Conference 2012 [Photo: Conservatives / Flickr]

Britain's new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reiterated his position from two years ago that if Britain does not get to renegotiate its membership, it should leave the European Union.

In an interview with Andrew Marr of the BBC, Hammond reiterated his earlier stance that if the European Union failed to change and to agree to new terms for Britain's membership, he would rather leave the bloc.

"If there is no change at all in the way Europe is governed, no change in the balance of competences between the nation states and the European Union, no resolution of the challenge of how the Eurozone can succeed and coexist with the non-Eurozone - that is not a Europe that can work for Britain in the future, so there must be change, there must be renegotiation."

Hammond said his government would put it to the British people to decide once there is substantive renegotiation and substantive change in Europe that addresses the concerns that Britain has along with the needs of Europe in a modern world.

"So my job now is to pursue that renegotiation - to prepare for it...over the next nine, 10 months...," Hammond told the BBC.

He said he would make his recommendation to the British people after a renegotiation is carried out.

"We're all in government in the same place on Europe. We all believe that the status quo is not an acceptable way to run Europe in the future."

Hammond was appointed foreign secretary last week in a surprise development. William Hague, Britain's most senior diplomat for the past four years, voluntarily stood down allowing Prime Minister David Cameron to appoint him.

Cameron has promised to try to reshape Britain's EU ties if re-elected next year before giving voters a membership referendum, something opinion polls show could be close.

  • May 2015: UK to hold general election
  • 2017: EU membership referendum proposed by David Cameron


Gerry's picture

"If there is no change in the way Europe is governed"... will you for once just tell us what you want us to do! If there is no change in the balance of competencies... what the hell is that supposed to mean! Does anybody know?
So Hammond is going to "prepare to renegotiate" over the next ten months, and then he will make a recommendation to the British people??? This man must have a rocket up his arse, nobody can stop him. The big question is, where is he going?

Mike Parr's picture

Apart from hypocrisy, the Tory-vermin also have a monopoly on waffle (no not the belgian delicacy) - the ability to talk in vague terms 100% of the time. This is a congenital condition ditto hypocrisy. If the EU is daft enough to agree to the UK's request (re-negotiation) whatever happens it will not be enough for vermin like Hammond.