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“PM Theresa May Does Not Listen”, Says Lord Bilimoria

In a debate in the House of Lords on the Queen’s speech, Lord Karan Bilimoria, one of the youngest peers, affirmed that it would be much better for Britain to continue to stay on in the European Union.

In a debate in the House of Lords on the Queen’s speech, Lord Karan Bilimoria, one of the youngest peers, affirmed that it would be much better for Britain to continue to stay on in the European Union.

By Raj Kanwar
IAN India Correspondent

LONDON: In a speech lasting 15 minutes, Lord Karan Bilimoria said that only as late as 22 February, 2016, Britain was flying high as the fastest growing economy in the Western world, and was the envy of Europe. That fateful day David Cameron announced the Referendum and four months later on 23 June, they had the 52:48 Referendum result.

“Our world has changed since then. Look at the turmoil we are in a year later. Far from flying high and being the envy of Europe, we have now become the laughing stock of Europe,” he said. “A year ago, the Brexiteers had claimed that Europe was doing so badly and we are doing so well. Today, however, Europe is growing faster than Britain, the pound has weakened and the inflation is six times higher than the 0.5% that it was a year ago. Today, inflation is 3% and wage growth is 1.7%. Over the whole of the past year, Brexit overshadowed everything else in the Parliament and took up so much of our time,” Bilimoria rued.

He blamed the Prime Minister for sidelining the Parliament in order to implement the Article 50. It was only after big defeats suffered by the government in the House of Lords that she had had to call the elections Queen’s speech. He also criticized May for taking many U-turns – unlike former PM Margaret Thatcher – time and again, whether it was on national insurance for the self-employed, or calling a snap election after saying there would be no election until 2020, or on social care measures in the manifesto.

He reminded May about the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to London last November at which the latter had emphasized that the movement of people was as important as trade deals. “We talk about trade deals but there can be no trade deal without looking at the movement of people as well,” he said, asking May to look at the realities of a country like India with 1.25 billion people. “How many bilateral trade deals does India have with the rest of the world?” he asked. “India has nine trade deals but not even one with a western country.”

Bilimoria said that these trade deals were meant to support the UK in making a smooth exit from the European Union and to ensure that the UK businesses were able to benefit from trade with the rest of the world as also to cement the UK’s leading role as a great global trading nation. “We are already one of the most open economies in the world and our trade makes up to 65% of our GDP. We are already the third highest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world, and the highest recipient of foreign direct investment in the European Union. To leave the European Union would mean to give up 50% of our trade – 45% of our exports and 55% of our imports.”

Lord Bilimoria believes that the public opinion is changing swiftly on Brexit. One of the latest surveys predicts that 69% of the British public opposed the Prime Minister’s hard-Brexit approach and 53% backed a second Referendum. The noble peer Lord Kerr – the person who wrote Article 50 – has said time and again that Britain can turn back at any time simply by saying, “we do not want to do this. Unilaterally, we withdraw”.

Bilimoria concluded that the opinion of the British people at that time will probably be: “Why not just stay with what we’ve got, which is the best of both the worlds? It would be much better for us to end up staying in the EU.”

 

 

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