Lord Hague said leaving EU risks “splintering the West”

Lord Hague and David Cameron.
Lord Hague and David Cameron.
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FORMER RICHMOND MP and Conservative grandee William Hague said leaving the EU risks “dividing and splintering” the West.

Despite a long history of eurosceptic campaigning Lord Hague said leaving the European Union entirely would be unwise.

While the Yorkshire politician maintains the EU has many flaws, he said his time as Foreign Secretary revealed to him the need to remain as new dangers have arisen across the world.

Speaking in Central London, he said: “While we have been discussing all these issues over the past 20 years the world has changed around us. While we have been busy containing the danger of being dominated by European institutions, new dangers have arisen which are serious threats to the collective security and prosperity to Western nations.

“The greatest danger now and in the coming decade is the division and splintering of the West. Britain leaving Europe could intensify that danger.

“Overall the extent of the risks of leaving, the strength of the protections secured by the UK and the danger of the West dividing and turning into itself add up to a powerful case for remaining in the EU.

He said the economic risks had been clearly set out by experts and British voters should realise with their ‘good sense’ that it would not be in the country’s interest to leave commercial opportunities behind.

No clear of alternative plan has been put forward by those favouring Brexit either, he suggested.

Lord Hague, who was MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire between 1989 and 2015 and now sits in the House of Lords, is known for his long-held eurosceptic views.

Running through the litany of his past concerns over the EU, during his speech he touched on how his anti-EU thoughts were galvanised during Britain’s departure from the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

As leader of the Conservative Party he was at the forefront of hte campaign to keep Britain out of the Euro. He also demanded a referendum on Britain signing up to the Lisbon Treaty. A request which was ignored at the time - a decision he believes directly led to the total referendum being held by David Cameron today.

However despite his euroscepticism, he said: “Holding these views as I do, I have never thought to leave the EU.”