UK lawmakers warn Obama not to intervene in ‘Brexit’ debate

Five British lawmakers and anti-EU party leader warn US President Barack Obama not to intervene in debate over possible British exit from EU

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

US President Barack Obama addresses a reception for Women’s History Month at the White House in Washington on March 16, 2016.

A handful of UK lawmakers have warned Barack Obama not to intervene in the "Brexit" debate in an open letter on Thursday, ahead of the US president’s visit to the UK next month.

The letter, signed by five lawmakers from different parties and Nigel Farage - leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) - argues that interfering in the debate would mark an "unfortunate milestone at the end of your term as president."

Obama is predicted to urge British voters to support Britain’s EU membership in his London visit in April, according to a Sunday report in the British newspaper The Independent.

The letter said it is "imperative that the question of exiting the European Union is not one answered by foreign politicians or outside interests, but rather by the British people who must ultimately live with change or the status quo," the national news agency PA reported.

It warned that although it is "understandable that a sitting US president feels the obligation to speak in the interest of the United States, it must be advised that even a passive diplomatic recommendation in the matter of our national decision will receive the opposite of the intended effect."

Kate Hoey, a Labour Party MP, said, "We would certainly never think of visiting the United States and telling the US public how to vote in an election or the amendment of their constitution."

The referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU will be held on June 23. Most opinion polls show voters as split, with a large number of people as yet undecided.

TRTWorld and agencies