DEBUG: blog_post
27 Apr, 2018

For street campaigning and leaflets

Our correspondent, who writes under the by-line Not Unicorns, but EUnity, has prepared this collection of quotes from politicians, commentators, economists, lawyers and diplomats.  The quotes will come in handy when campaigning on the street, preparing leaflets, or in any discussion of Brexit. The series of quotes takes you through the arguments for the EU and for a People's Vote - it will be the first vote on the facts; you can sign up to briefings and to the march on 23 June 2018 on the website. You can also sign the petition for MPs to have the option to Remain when they vote on the Brexit deal.  The petition will be debated on 11 June 2018 and there is to be a demonstration outside Parliament that afternoon. 


Winston Churchill

"I look forward to a United States of Europe, in which the barriers between the nations will be greatly minimised and unrestricted travel will be possible."

(21st October 1942)


Margaret Thatcher

 "Just think for a moment what a prospect that is. A single market without barriers — visible or invisible — giving you direct and unhindered access to the purchasing power of over 300 million [now 500m] of the world's wealthiest and most prosperous people."

(18th April 1988 - Speech opening Single Market Campaign)


John Major

"Parliament has a duty also to consider the “wellbeing of the people”."

"I know of no precedent for any Government enacting a policy that will make both our country and our people poorer".

"So far, the promises have not been met and, probably, cannot be met".

"It’s as necessary to speak truth to the people, as to power".

(1st March 2018, Speech at Somerset House)


David Cameron

 "The EU amplifies our power. Brits don’t quit. We get involved. If we left, they'd be making decisions about us, but without us."

(21st June 2016)


Theresa May

"If we look at the challenges we will face, of security, trade and the economy – Britain's prosperity will be more secure if we're inside the European Union."

(24th April 2016, The Andrew Marr Show, BBC1)


Boris Johnson

"If we left the EU we would end this sterile debate and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by Brussels, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills and a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capacity and infrastructure."

(12th May 2013, Daily Telegraph)


David Davis

“If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

(19th November 2012, Speech “Europe: It’s Time To Decide”)


Jacob Rees-Mogg

"Indeed, we could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed."

(24th October 2011, In Parliament - Column 108, National Referendum on the European Union)


Nigel Farage

"In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the Remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it."

(16th May 2016, Interview with the Daily Mirror)


Tony Blair

"To absent ourselves from the biggest of our markets and the largest political union in the world is an extraordinary self-defeating act if you want this country to remain strong."

(29th March 2018 at Conference Article 50: One Year On)


Michael Heseltine

"UK businesses are in despair, and with no option but to consider postponing investment, or moving their money and investment from here to the continent. The downsides are becoming more evident as time passes.”

(2nd March 2018, Interview with The Observer)


Nick Clegg

"When you win in a democracy you have to take responsibility for delivering the commitment that you made to the British people. May seemed to de-legitimise close on half the voting public. You can't do that in a mature democracy."

(9th October 2017 - Nick Clegg on BBC1 Breakfast, 8.40 am)


James Moore (Chief Business Commentator- The Independent)

"Before the Referendum Britain was the fastest growing economy in the G7. Now it is the slowest."

(30th January 2018)


Sir Ivan Rogers (Head of the British representation in Brussels - resigned 3rd January 2017)

"Senior ministers, who will decide on our positions, issue by issue, also need from you detailed, unvarnished – even where this is uncomfortable – and nuanced understanding of the views, interests and incentives of the other 27.

"I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power."

(3rd January 2017 Resignation email to his staff)


John Pienaar (Deputy Political Editor BBC News)

"Then came Brexit … Respect for objective, expert Civil Service didn't last long. 

"Civil Servants often keep their worries to themselves.

"A former Mandarin told me: 'Our big worry is if we speak our mind- we won't even be allowed in the room when decisions are taken.' "

(Tuesday 20th March 2018 at 13.14 – BBC Radio 4 "World at One")


Jason Langrish (Negotiator on the Canadian trade deal with the EU)

"Undoing nearly 45 years of integration and shared law will not be a pleasant experience and represents a clear step backwards."

(8th January 2017)

"The Canada deal … will go to some measure on Services, but it simply will not provide that market access that covers agriculture, manufacturing, professional and financial services that the UK is looking for.

"This is a very unconventional negotiation. You are going backwards, not forwards, you are not integrating, you are de-integrating.

"People in the UK will say, ‘That feels like a loss of sovereignty’."

(10th December 2017 at 13.05-15 – BBC Radio 4 "The World this Weekend")


Jim O'Neill (former Goldman Sachs Chief Economist and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)

“If you are doing a lot of trade with other places in some ways it is irrelevant whether you are in the EU or not and Germany proves that.

"We keep trotting out this phrase "global Britain". We are diminishing that by removing ourselves from a very helpful trade relationship with 50% of our partners.”

(2nd February 2018, Radio 4 News, 18.07-8)


Dr Meredith Crowley, Economist - University of Cambridge:

"UK firms are able to integrate themselves into cross European supply chains, have their manufacturing networks extend across countries.

"Large multinationals co-located their investment and jobs in the UK in order to take advantage of the European market.

"As part of the larger EU trading bloc, the UK was able to extract concessions in negotiating agreements with other countries like China that they might not have been able to extract if they were operating individually."

(5th February 2018, BBC TV News 18.00)


Miriam Gonzalez Durantez (Legal advisor on trade law, economic relations and the Middle East to both the European Union and the British Government; Lady Clegg)

“No country in history, democracy or dictatorship, ever built success by governing against the interests of young people.”

(19th April 2018 The New European newspaper, Alastair Campbell article ""This cross-party energy shows fight is still on" – quoted from his interview with her for GQ magazine)


Will Hutton (Political economist, Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford)

"Brexit is an Epic Act of National Self-harm."

(4 June 2017, The Guardian)


Michel Barnier

"Without the Customs Union and outside the market, barriers to trade, goods and services are UNAVOIDABLE. The time has come to make a choice."

(5th February 2018, Channel 4 News at 19.00, Visit to No. 10)

“There are extremely serious consequences of leaving the single market and it hasn’t been explained to the British people."

(3rd September 2017)


Gina Miller

"This affects everybody in the country. Once we know what is on the table, it's not a question of why shouldn't we have a People's Vote. Why wouldn't we? It's pure common sense to go back to the people and say 'This is what we have achieved. Do you want this or do you want something else?'."

(24th March 2018, 8.15, BBC1 Breakfast TV)


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, Statesman and political theorist)

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

(possibly adapted from an attributed quotation)

"Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays

instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

(3rd November 1774 - Speech to the electors of Bristol)


Winston Churchill

"It sometimes happens that the same Government, the same Party have to execute this volte-face. It may be their duty to do so because it is the sole manner of discharging their responsibilities, or because they are the only combination strong enough to do what is needed in the new circumstance."

(1929 election campaign, Epping – "My Darling Clementine" by Jack Fishman, 1963, P.89)