‘We messed up before Brexit vote’ admits George Osborne
- Credit: Archant
George Osborne has admitted that his government made mistakes during his time in office which 'opened up the door' to the Brexit vote.
Appearing on BBC's Newsnight, the former chancellor admitted the Conservative party 'did get things wrong' in the lead-up to the Brexit vote.
He told the programme: 'I think we were wrong to play into the debate that everything that Brussels did was a challenge and a battle and was wrong.
'On immigration we were promising targets that we couldn't deliver and that then led to a debate about how you might deliver those targets... we definitely contributed to that argument.'
He added: 'It opened up the door in the referendum... essentially it allowed in the referendum, a minority of people who were interested in rather esoteric issues of sort of constitutional sovereignty.
You may also want to watch:
'We allowed that kind of minority concern of constitutional sovereignty to be linked to immigration control and that was pretty lethal in that referendum debate.'
He added Remain supporters had been 'too late in the day' in explaining the benefits of EU membership, he said, while not enough had been made of the value of immigration.
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 3 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 4 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 5 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 James Cleverly mocked after telling people to 'look at how they're doing in Wales'
- 9 Dido Harding is struggling to defend the indefensible
- 10 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
But Osborne, who is now the editor of the London Evening Standard, said he had worked hard 'in the national interest' during his time in office in the face of a hung parliament and faced with the 'gigantic financial crash'.
'Ultimately the country grew and jobs were created and we avoided the calamitous situation that a lot of European countries found themselves in this period,' he said.
In a warning to May he said that the last election was essentially lost because the Tories tried to 'out-UKIP UKIP' and the next election would not be won trying to 'out-Corbyn Corbyn.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.