Article 50 author says UK has 50/50 chance of 'orderly' Brexit

Lord Kerr predicts 'extremely nasty bout of xenophobia in the Daily Mail and Sun' in the summer

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The Independent Online

The Government has a less than 50 per cent chance of an orderly exit from the European Union within the next two years, according to the author of Article 50.

Experienced EU negotiator Lord Kerr also said Parliament, including himself, does “not have the guts” to vote down the triggering of Brexit.

The House of Lords crossbench peer, formerly the Foreign Office permanent secretary from 1997 to 2002 and UK representative to the EU from 1990 to 1995, made the remarks during an appearance at the London School of Economics.

“One of the things that worries me is the fog in the channel is getting thicker all the time,” said Lord Kerr, according to The Guardian.

“How do we look from across the channel at the moment? We look incoherent.

“They [Europe] cannot believe there was not a plan and five months on, there is still no plan.

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“They note the xenophobia – the attacks on foreigners, the sense that the climate in Britain is changing.”

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, was Secretary General of the European Convention when it drafted Article 50 as a precursor to the Lisbon Treaty, previously said the UK needs migration because Britons are “so bloody stupid”.

Earlier this month, Lord Kerr said Brexit could still be reversed.

But speaking this week, he said Parliament will vote to continue with Brexit proceedings, assuming Theresa May’s Supreme Court appeal fails.

“The number of us in Parliament who will have the guts to vote against triggering Article 50 is very very small. There is Ken Clarke and there is probably someone else,” he said.

“It is quite difficult when the people have just spoken for us to say ‘OK people, you voted, you got it wrong, we are not going to pay any attention’.”

Brexit agreement 'impossible' within two-year period

He said that at most, Parliament would add conditions such as requiring ministers to set out their negotiating objectives in a green paper, therefore prolonging the period before the UK leaves the EU.

Lord Kerr also predicted the EU would reject a series of government proposals tabled in the spring, leading to “an extremely nasty bout of xenophobia in the Daily Mail and Sun in the summer, far worse than the recent attacks on the judges as 'enemies of the people'".

Over the weekend, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kennedy said Brexit within two years was impossible.