LONDON, 15 July (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – The appointment of Philip Hammond to the position of UK Foreign Secretary will not change the British Government’s refusal to hold a referendum on continued EU membership, a senior United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) MEP has told RIA Novosti.
MEP David Coburn was speaking after it was confirmed that Hammond will replace William Hague as the UK’s Foreign Secretary as part of a major Cabinet reshuffle.
Last year, Hammond told the BBC that if Britain was unable to reform the EU then it should vote to leave, but Coburn told RIA Novosti there was “zero” chance of the new Foreign Secretary pushing that view in Cabinet.
“Mr Hammond will do exactly what Mr Hammond has always done and do as his leader tells him,” Coburn said.
“The chances of him pushing for a UK exit of the EU are absolutely zero,” Coburn told RIA Novosti.
“He may have his own view on pulling out of the EU, but the man is too eager for the trappings of power at the Foreign Office ever to do anything so rash as to really push to leave the European Union,” Coburn added.
Coburn said that Hammond’s appointment and that of other Euro-sceptic Ministers as part of the reshuffle, was a reaction to UKIP’s recent election successes, but told RIA Novosti the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government remained opposed to a straight in/out referendum on the EU.
“The UK Government are doing everything they can to avoid a referendum,” Coburn said.
“We in UKIP have got them absolutely terrified. They are putting as many people as they can that look like UKIP into senior positions of power, but the reality is Cameron has no intention of holding a referendum,” Coburn added. “Cameron could easily have a referendum on the EU before the General Election, but he won’t.”
“I think if Hammond believes in withdrawing from the EU he should say it and press for it, but I don’t think he is going to say that,” Coburn told RIA Novosti.