25 former British ambassadors warn Brexit is reducing British global influence

PUBLISHED: 13:21 24 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 24 August 2019

Boris Johnson at Conservative party conference.  Pictue: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Boris Johnson at Conservative party conference. Pictue: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

2015 Getty Images

An open joint letter from 25 former British ambassadors ahead of the G7 in Biarritz warns Boris Johnson that, by leaving the EU, the UK will reduce its influence in international organisations and groupings.

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Signatories include Lord John Kerr, the author of Article 50; Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the former permanent representative to the European Union and ambassador to the United States of America; Lord David Hannay, permanent representative to the EEC under Margaret Thatcher's government; Peter Jenkins, former UK representative to the World Trade Organisation; Dame Mariot Leslie, former permanent representative of the United Kingdom to NATO; Sir David Warren, former ambassador to Japan; and Sir Roderic Lyne, former Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

In the letter, the ambassadors say: "By leaving the EU, Britain will sharply reduce its influence in every one of the international organisations and groupings where key decisions are taken - the UN Security Council, the G20, the G7, to name but a few."

It continues, warning against a No-Deal Brexit: "Pursuing No Deal and damaging relations with key G7 partners in the EU such as Germany, France and Italy will see us lose all possible influence in crafting foreign policy decisions from within the EU's structures. Moreover, without the weight of our EU partners behind us, our voice will hold less sway wherever and whenever the international community takes political or economic decisions."

Concluding the former ambassadors warn: "We need a foreign policy based on long term UK interests and a strong economy, and that requires above all close, stable and fruitful relationships with our European neighbours. No Deal represents the biggest unilateral abandonment of those interests in modern British history. It should not be allowed to happen. We hope that the prime minister uses this G7 meeting to signal a different approach."

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has confirmed the UK would not nominate a new candidate for EU commissioner.

He said it would be a "distraction" to nominate someone for the post.

Barclay said: "We are leaving the EU on October 31. As a departing member state we will not be involved in the new Commission so it would be a distraction to nominate a new commissioner."

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