LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is having a political nervous breakdown and is taking an enormous threat because it prepares to depart the European Union after a divisive referendum, a former senior UK intelligence official mentioned on Saturday.
Sir John Sawers, who stepped down as head of Britain’s MI6 international intelligence service in 2014, instructed the BBC that with Brexit looming he was involved concerning the caliber of Britain’s political leaders, each within the ruling Conservative Occasion and the primary opposition Labour Occasion.
“We’re going by way of a political nervous breakdown right here within the UK. We’ve potential prime ministers being elected by the Conservative Occasion now, (and) within the form of the chief of the opposition, who don’t have the standing that we’ve turn out to be used to in our prime management,” Sawers mentioned.
“Whether or not folks can develop that after they turn out to be prime minister, we should wait and see, when it comes to the candidates for the Conservative management,” he mentioned.
Conservative members are at the moment voting for the occasion’s subsequent chief, who may even turn out to be prime minister. They’re selecting between frontrunner Boris Johnson, a former London mayor and international minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the present international minister.
Sawers’ intervention is available in the identical week as a report in The Occasions newspaper that cited unidentified senior officers as saying they have been involved that opposition Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn was too frail to be prime minister. Corbyn referred to as for an impartial investigation into the report.
A Labour Occasion spokeswoman declined to touch upon Sawers’ feedback, as did a consultant for Hunt. Johnson’s camp couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Sawers mentioned senior officers in authorities have been involved concerning the path during which Britain was heading.
“There may be a number of anxiousness as we go away the European Union, we take an enormous threat to our worldwide standing, to the energy of the British economic system,” he mentioned.
In a 2016 referendum Britons voted 52% to 48% to depart the EU however greater than three years later the nation continues to be within the union and its future path will not be clear. Within the Conservative Occasion contest to interchange Theresa Might and turn out to be prime minister Brexit has been the defining difficulty and each candidates insist they may take the nation out of the EU.
Reporting by James Davey; Modifying by Stephen Powell