Kerry says Brexit may not happen

 John Kerry / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

John Kerry / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union might never be implemented and that London is in no hurry to go.

Speaking one day after talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, Kerry said the outgoing British leader feels “powerless” to negotiate a departure he does not want.

“This is a very complicated divorce,” Kerry told the Aspen Ideas Festival, referring to Britain’s negotiated exit from the EU after last week’s “Brexit” referendum.

Kerry, who visited Downing Street on Monday, said Cameron was loath to invoke “Article 50” of the Lisbon treaty, which would trigger a two-year timetable for departure.

London, Kerry explained, does not want to find itself boxed in after two years without a new association agreement and to be forced out of the EU without one.

And, he added, Cameron “feels powerless — and I think this is a fair conclusion –- to go out and start negotiating a thing that he doesn’t believe in and he has no idea how he would do it.

“And by the way, nor do most of the people who voted to do it,” Kerry said, apparently referring to “Leave” campaigners such as former London mayor Boris Johnson, now the frontrunner to replace Cameron as premier.

Asked by the panel moderator if this meant the Brexit decision could be “walked back” and if so how, Kerry said: “I think there are a number of ways.”

“I don’t as secretary of state want to throw them out today. I think that would be a mistake. But there are a number of ways,” he said.

Washington has long supported a strong role for its British ally in the European project, and was dismayed when British voters chose last week to quit the Union.

Now, US officials are calling for a calm debate on Brexit leading to a deal that would allow a close association between London and Brussels to continue.

Some EU leaders, however, insist that Cameron must move quickly to invoke Article 50 and begin divorce talks, to put an end to political and economic uncertainty.

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  • bigbang

    Brexit will happen or there will huge problems in the UK. You can’t ignore the voice of the voters.

    • samosei

      If wishes were horses beggars would ride.
      Lets wait and see how “Brexit” will happen, …with scotland, and the Irish?

  • chiemex

    Kerry should go and face his USA. Stop crying over spilled milk

  • Deji Fadina


    Instead of acting STUPIDLY AND ARROGANTLY hurt, can’t the European Union stand back and read this as a serious warning that there was something massively wrong with where Europe was going if such a huge number was having problems with it?
    Punishing Britain by pushing her out would be nice for the EU EGO, for now, but still doesn’t answer the question of what was wromg with the EU to be seen as not that nice a MOTHER.

  • Ify Onabu

    Cameron cannot be forced to carry the burden imposed on him by Boris Johnson and his co-travellers. It is apparent that Boris Johnson only wanted to use ‘Brexit’ as an indirect route to power as Prime Minister. He does not have the faintest idea how to go about his pet project. It also does not matter to him that the sentiments he and Nigel Farage whipped up have now led to a sharp rise in xenophobia on the streets of the UK.

    • share Idea

      You’re right that he does not understand the position he has helped to box the UK in. It will be like what Buhari is doing with Nigeria – running mouth when he was outside and now confused once he is in the driving seat.