British EU Exit Could Lead to UK Break-Up, Warns Hague

The United Kingdom could disintegrate if Britons vote to leave the European Union as it would give succour to the cause of Scottish nationalists, former Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.

Hague, a former leader of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party and considered to be a Eurosceptic, said he would back Britain remaining in the bloc despite his own great misgivings about the EU when an in/out referendum is held before the end of 2017.

“We will have to ask, disliking so many aspects of it as we do, whether we really want to weaken it, and at the same time increase the chances, if the UK left the EU, of Scotland leaving the UK,” Hague wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Hague spoke out after Cameron met fellow European leaders in Brussels last week to try to drum up support for his reform of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

Critics in his party, which has been deeply divided over Europe for decades, say his negotiations are likely to achieve little of any substance, with former Defence Secretary Liam Fox saying on Sunday it was time to “end the pretence” that Europe would change to accommodate Britain.

Hague said despite the EU’s many failings, it provided stability for fragile democracies in central Europe and it would not be in Britain’s interests for the bloc to fall apart with such volatility in the Middle East and the world economies.


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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Former Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary.

His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News.

Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.