No need to rush Brexit. Let’s all enjoy a holiday, says Leave chief
HOLDING off on the formal process of leaving the European Union is important because people need to “go away on holiday” in the wake of the lengthy referendum process, says a leading figure of the Brexit campaign.
Matthew Elliott, the Vote Leave chief executive, backed David Cameron’s decision to delay the “divorce” for several months while a new prime minister is chosen, despite Brussels pressure for a rapid departure.
Mr Elliott said: “I don’t think we need to rush this process. During the campaign, there was talk about triggering Article 50 and its process of leaving the EU right away – literally, Friday morning – and I think quite rightly the PM has paused on that, which allows the dust to settle, allows people to go away on holiday, have some informal discussions about it, and then think about it come September/October time.
“It’s interesting that the German Chancellor [Angela Merkel] was saying there shouldn’t be a rush now to start the process and trigger Article 50.
“We should all take a pause, see where the dust settles, then start in the autumn.”
He said Vote Leave had “done lots of detailed planning” for Brexit and suggested Michael Gove was “probably the man to lead the negotiations”, but dismissed the idea of any formal role
for Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Mr Elliott said: “This is very much a win for Vote Leave. Vote Leave didn’t include Ukip as a campaign, we were cross-party, we had Ukip representatives, but we involved the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens…
“I think Nigel Farage has played a role getting the referendum, but I think now the actual process of negotiation needs to be done by people from the governing party, from the Conservative Party.”
Economic turbulence from markets and companies reacting to the decision would “settle very quickly”, he predicted.
Mr Elliott denied that his campaign had been guilty of “exaggeration” over its prominent claim that the UK could better spend £350 million a week paid to the EU on the NHS.
He said: “As a campaign group we felt the NHS should have some more money. Now, of course, it’s up to Parliament to decide.
“That is the key point here. We elect our representatives to Parliament, they will decide what happens with the negotiation, they will decide what happens to the independence dividend from leaving the EU.”
Asked if he would take a role in a government led by Boris Johnson or Mr Gove, he said: “I don’t know. I finished an epic campaign, it’s been hard work, I think it’s now time for a holiday.”