John Major has recently said that Brexit supporters should ‘move to North Korea’ and insisted that the authoritarian state had the most ‘undiluted sovereignty’ as he urged a vote to stay in the EU.
The comments came as the ex-Tory leader made his latest intervention in the increasingly bitter referendum battle. But his views were immediately dismissed by Leave campaigners who pointed to his record of taking the UK into the ill-fated European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).
Making a series of swipes at senior figures including Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Sir John dismissed complaints that the country could not govern itself fully within the EU.
‘This country is sovereign. We can vote to repeal the Accession Acts to the EU at any time – that is sovereignty in its purest form,’ he told BBC Radio
‘If you want undiluted sovereignty in the modern age when everybody is interconnected then go to North Korea because that’s where you’ll get it.
‘It is certainly true that we share sovereignty. We take some sovereignty from others, we share some of ours, we haven’t surrendered it because at the end of the day the House of Commons can say we won’t have this, we will leave the EU.
‘But in the modern world of interconnectivity you have to share sovereignty or you find yourself isolated and weaker and our prime concern must surely be the economic well-being of our country and the political and diplomatic clout that our country has and both of those in my judgement are better within the EU, working with our partners.’
Major said Britain had been the ‘sick man’ of Europe before it joined the union, but was now on track to be the continent’s biggest economy. (Daily Mail)
Sir John accused Brexiteers of using ’emotive mantra’ by claiming the ‘want our country back’.
He took a swipe at Justice Secretary Michael Gove, dismissing his remark that the UK was like a ‘hostage’ in the back of a car as ‘nonsense’.
‘To listen to them you would think we were entrapped in the clutches of an evil empire, not in a democratic partnership with our European neighbours, whose sunshine and pavement cafes we enjoy during holiday breaks,’ Sir John said.