Emmanuel Macron: Promises made in Brexit referendum were 'rubbish' and have torn the UK apart

Posted On: 
25th January 2019

The promises behind the Brexit campaign were “rubbish” and the outcome has torn Britain apart, Emmanuel Macron has declared in a warning to frustrated French voters.

Emmanuel Macron warned French voters against leaving the European Union
PA Images

The French president dismissed the 2016 vote as a show of misplaced “anger” by UK voters as he called on his own country’s discontented electorate to “be aware of people who sell you dreams, that tell you all your anger can be solved by a referendum”.

In a scathing speech to an audience in Lyon, which included some dressed in the uniform of the “Gilets Jaunes” protesters who have taken to the streets to express their anger at his government, Mr Macron said: "I’m scared of people who manipulate you with miracle ideas."

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He added: "Take the British. They voted for Brexit. There were people who, in good faith, were sometimes as angry as you are, and they said that the source of all their ills was Europe. It’s rubbish!"

In a swipe at the Vote Leave campaign, he continued: "There were lots of buses passing by reading that you were going to save something like 36 billion pounds if you get out of Europe.

"And it will be done in 15 days, and then people voted. There were people who voted for Brexit, who did it in good faith, they were angry, and they thought their situation was impossible, because the system was unjust."

The President also turned fire on David Cameron and senior figures around him for quitting office in the wake of the shock result.

He continued: "The result is, it’s in fact been going on for two years now and those who promised a Brexit literally left within two weeks. They didn’t even want to govern!

"People are starting to realise that all the figures they were given are entirely false, and what they were told could be done overnight in fact can’t be delivered.

"And in the end it’s going to cost them. In this context do you think that the referendum was a good thing?

"No, because it didn’t allow for an informed, transparent and calm debate. It’s torn a society apart, and it’s left it open to disinformation coming from abroad, or terrible manipulation."

Elsewhere Mr Macron said he expected Theresa May to push for an extension to Article 50 until May in a bid to reach a deal ahead of the European Parliament elections.