‘The Government is not showing coherence and effectiveness in negotiating the leaving of the European Union,’ according to a former Home Secretary speaking at The University of Nottingham this week.
These were the words of the Rt. Hon, Charles Clarke, who attended a panel discussion hosted by the School of Economics at the University on 8 March, on how Britain and the EU can forge a new relationship in a post-Brexit world.
Joining the former Home Secretary was the Rt Hon. Sir Vince Cable, former Secretary of State for Business, innovation and Skills, to give his views on the much-talked about topic.
Also joining the Westminster duo on the panel were - Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Panicos Demetriades, former governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, and Professor Jagjit Chadha, of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Over 250 people attended the event which heard from each of the speakers on how Britain could survive in a world beyond Brexit, and what the Government needed to focus on in its current negotiations.
When asked on what he thought the Government’s key priorities should be when leaving the EU, Sir Vince Cable said: “Jobs, jobs and jobs. In my mind it’s always been about the economy. There is a lot at stake.
“A large number of our industries have most of their exports going to the EU. They depend on the single market. Industries like the car industry and other high tech industries have supply chains of stuff coming backwards and forwards - this could very easily be seriously disrupted if we reintroduce tariffs and checks. Getting the trade relationship right is key for me. It is top of the list of priorities, as that is what will affect people’s jobs and their livelihoods.”
Members of the audience had the opportunity to pose questions to the panel at the end of the discussion. One gentleman vehemently accused Mr Clarke of being a ‘pessimist’, to which Mr Clarke replied: “I am a pessimist. The Government is not showing coherence and effectiveness in negotiating the leaving of the European Union, it’s not taking the best strategy.
“In my opinion we should be saying we want to stay in the single market; we want to stay in the Customs Union; we want to regulate our immigration more effectively. That’s what we should be doing, rather than coming out of those things which will damage us economically.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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