Over 100 Members of Parliament (MPs) have signed a letter warning it would be “highly damaging” for President Obama to publicly back Britain remaining in the European Union (EU) when he visits next month ahead of June’s referendum.
The letter was coordinated by former Tory Cabinet Minister and prominent Brexit supporter, Dr. Liam Fox MP. Addressed to the U.S. Ambassador to the UK —Matthew Barzun — it warns the U.S. government that any intervention from President Obama would undermine the “validity of the result” of the EU referendum and its “acceptance by the British people”.
As part of a wider trip to Europe the American president will visit Britain on April 22-23. During that time he will have a private luncheon with the Queen at Windsor Castle and hold a press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron. The Sunday Times reportshe will also attend a rally for the EU referendum ‘Remain’ campaign.
The letter was signed by a serving Foreign Office minister, James Duddridge MP, and the serving Minister of State for Communities and Resilience, Mark Francois MP, as well as former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan MP. MPs from the Labour Party, UKIP and the Democratic Unionist Party also signed. It says:
It has long been the established practice not to interfere in the domestic political affairs of our allies and we hope that this will continue.
While the U.S. administration may have a view on the desirability or otherwise of Britain’s continued membership of the EU, any explicit intervention in the debate is likely to be extremely controversial and potentially damaging.
We hope that you will persuade President Obama from becoming embroiled in what is a highly delicate, sensitive and important issue for the British people.