Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May thinks Brexit will cause lots of businesses to leave the UK because the nation needs the European Union’s trading agreement to keep firms investing in the country, according to a secret recording of her talking to Goldman Sachs bankers.
In an audio recording leaked to The Guardian newspaper, May warned Goldman bankers about the potential consequences of a Brexit. The recording was dated May 26, a month before Britons voted to leave the 28-nation bloc. Goldman Sachs confirmed to The Guardian that May spoke to its staff but was not paid.
The audio recording includes snippets of May talking frankly about what she really thinks will happen in the event of a Brexit. Here are the key points:
- Brexit fallout — “I think the economic arguments are clear. I think being part of a 500-million trading bloc is significant for us. I think, as I was saying to you a little earlier, that one of the issues is that a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe.”
- Businesses leaving — “If we were not in Europe, I think there would be firms and companies who would be looking to say, do they need to develop a mainland Europe presence rather than a UK presence? So I think there are definite benefits for us in economic terms.”
- Britain’s security — “There are definitely things we can do as members of the European Union that I think keep us more safe.”
- Question becoming prime minister sidestepped — “That is one of my messages in terms of the issue of the referendum — actually we shouldn’t be voting to try to recreate the past, we should be voting for what is right for the future.”
Theresa May took over from David Cameron as prime minister shortly after a majority Britain voted to leave the EU with 51.9%.
Like Cameron, May supported the Remain campaign. However, after taking over the Conservative party and becoming the most powerful person in the country she repeatedly vowed that “Brexit means Brexit” and promised to fulfil the wishes of the majority vote of the nation.
Since taking over as prime minister, her cabinet has pushed for a “hard Brexit”, which means leaving the European Union without any trade agreements in place.
Her admissions pre-Brexit to Goldman staff suggests she is willing to take the economic risks she believes Brexit required to satisfy pro-Brexit voters. According to a report earlier in October, May will not cut any special deal with the City.
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