‘Profound Eurosceptic’ Michael Portillo explains support for Brexit

Michael Portillo explains why he voted to leave the European Union

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Michael Portillo has offered an eye-opening explanation behind his avid support for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. A self-confessed “enthusiastic” Brexiteer, the former Defence Secretary described himself as a “profound Eurosceptic”. He emphasised that, due to his experience as a dual passport holder, he has developed a unique understanding of the differences that separate European countries. In light of this, Mr Portillo indicated that he “couldn’t at all understand” the desire to unite such a varied continent under one European Union that lacks “accountability”.

Asked if he voted for Brexit, Mr Portillo told GB News presenter Gloria De Piero: “I did, with enthusiasm.”

Mr Portillo, a former Conservative MP and Cabinet minister under Sir John Major, said: “I am the holder of a Spanish passport, as well as a British passport – I know Spain pretty intimately. 

“That, indeed, is one of the reasons why I am a profound Eurosceptic.”

The former MP was born in Hertfordshire to a Scottish mother and Spanish father and has been recognised as a Spanish citizen since the age of four.

Mr Portillo continued: “It struck me that the countries of Europe are so different – they have such different political cultures.

“The meaning of citizen, the meaning of state, are different in each of these places.

“I couldn’t at all understand the aspiration to want to govern Europeans in general. 

“I couldn’t at all see how you could achieve a government of Europeans, in general, that would be accountable and democratic.”

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He suggested his “fears” surrounding the European Union had played out in the “appalling” manner with which Greece was treated following the economic crisis of 2009.

The former Tory MP explained: “The way, for example, the Greeks were treated over the Euro I thought was absolutely appalling.

“[It] showed the ill-liberalism of the institution and the lack of accountability and the terrible consequences that were paid by ordinary people – in terms of their loss of income, loss of lifestyle and so on.”

The Greek financial crisis of late 2009 emerged in the wake of the global economic crisis, beginning in 2007.

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The impact of the recession on Greece was longstanding partly due to their lack of monetary policy flexibility as a member of the Eurozone.

Having witnessed the economic turmoil of the Greek economy, Mr Portillo was keen to support Brexit to encourage the UK to have greater fiscal independence from Europe.

His explanation comes as the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has come under renewed scrutiny from Remainers in light of the cost of living crisis.

However, devout Brexit supporters have highlighted that the current economic pressure is affecting many other European countries, some far worse than the UK, suggesting Brexit cannot be the primary cause of recent financial hardship.

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