EU law expert who accused Brexit campaigners of dishonesty gives his verdict one year later

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-02 05:28:40|Editor: yan
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LONDON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The law expert who a year ago accused EU leave campaigners in Britain of "dishonesty on an industrial scale" has given his verdict a year later.

More than 7 million people watched a video on social media of a lecture in which Professor Michael Dougan warned that a vote to leave would cause untold damage to Britain.

In his latest assessment of the situation, just over a year after Britain voted in a referendum to quit the European Union, Dougan from the University of Liverpool's Law School, has given a clinical analysis of what has happened since the vote.

He said the points he warned about have turned out to be real.

Dougan was faced with a barrage of criticism from leave supporters after his grim warning in the summer of 2016. It led him to posting a message saying he was not a supporter of any side or group in the EU debate.

Again pulling no punches, Dougan says Brexiteers are now "facing the accountability of reality," adding they are now in a state of almost total denial as project fear becomes project reality.

Dougan said the warnings he gave last year were dismissed by Leave campaigners as a lawyer's version of Project Fear.

"But what is striking is how things are unfolding pretty much as expected," he said.

Dougan added: "What amazes me is how many Leave campaigners, within government as well as outside it, are still living in a state of almost total denial about what is happening."

He said Britain's negotiating position was seriously flawed from the outset by the government's rather fantastical demand that all negotiations with the EU should be done and dusted within 18 months.

"So far, the negotiations, just on the mechanics of withdrawal, have already thrown up some obvious points of tension," he said.

In his lecture a year ago Dougan made four sets of predictions, two relating to the internal challenges that would face the UK, and two related to the external tasks that we would have to confront.

On a comprehensive review of the entire legal system triggered by Brexit, Dougan says the amount of time and resource that will be spent just on preventing the country experiencing regulatory and administrative malfunction is astounding.

His second prediction was the impact Brexit would have on Scotland and Northern Ireland, leading to radical changes in the constitutional structure of the UK.

"Whatever happens in due course: the political damage done to relations between Edinburgh and Westminster is very serious. As for Northern Ireland: there is now at least broad consensus among responsible actors that this is the region of the UK that stands to be most damaged by withdrawal."

His third prediction centered on future relations with the EU. So far, the negotiations, just on the mechanics of withdrawal, have already thrown up obvious points of tension.

He commented: "Leading Leave campaigners and government ministers seem oblivious to the real difficulties in securing better trade terms between developed economies. As the European Council has repeatedly affirmed: no relationship, no matter how close, can offer the same benefits as EU membership."

Dougan's fourth prediction focused on Britain's post-Brexit relationship with the rest of the world.

"In international trade size matters with the bigger players dictating the rules of the game. They do so at the global level," he said.

The professor said during the past year, it seems events are unfolding in a way that was entirely predictable and indeed actively predicted.

"Leave campaigners are in the process of becoming subject to a form of accountability they have never really had to experience before: the accountability of reality."

"The time has come when their fantasies have to find solutions to real problems. They have to address challenges which they denied would ever even materialise," Dougan said.