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Former chancellor of exchequer: Time for Britain to leave EU

May 7, 2013 at 12:05 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, May 7 (UPI) -- Nigel Lawson, who served as Margaret Thatcher's chancellor of the exchequer, said Monday it is time for Britain to give up on the European Union.

In an opinion piece in The Times of London, Lawson called the EU "a bureaucratic monstrosity," The Guardian reported. He said the goal of European leaders now appears to be a united Europe along the lines of the United States.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU and then hold a referendum in 2017 if his party wins the 2015 general election.

"The heart of the matter is that the very nature of the European Union, and of this country's relationship with it, has fundamentally changed after the coming into being of the European monetary union and the creation of the eurozone, of which -- quite rightly -- we are not a part," he said.

"That is why, while I voted 'in' in 1975, I shall be voting 'out' in 2017."

Lawson, who now sits in the House of Lords as Baron Lawson of Blaby, was chancellor from 1983 to 1989, second in government only to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While back-bench Conservatives appear to be increasingly unhappy with the EU, Lawson is the most distinguished recruit to the euroskeptic cause so far.

The United Kingdom Independence Party, which advocates leaving the EU, did well in last week's local council elections, winning about 25 percent of the vote in those districts where it had candidates. UKIP leader Nigel Farage called Sunday for a referendum on the union before the next general election.

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