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Sajid Javid says he’d “embrace the opportunities” that leaving the European Union would bring

By Peter Hoskin
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SJDid you ever hear about the Exeter Mafia in Conservative politics? David Burrowes, Sajid Javid, Robert Halfon and this site’s founder, Tim Montgomerie, were all contemporaries at that city’s university.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is that one of their number, Sajid Javid, has been interviewed by Paul Waugh for the latest issue of the House Magazine. I’d recommend you read the whole thing for an insight into the workings of this risen-yet-still-rising member of the 2010 intake, but one passage stands out:

“The minister is also a noted Eurosceptic. Though the eurozone has turned the corner, he’s still wary and is delighted the PM has promised a referendum on the UK’s membership. ‘The best outcome is we do have a renegotiated relationship. I’ve done thousands of negotiations in my job in business and you never go into a negotiation without some sort of weapons in your arsenal, so we are right to have a referendum as it increases our ability to negotiate. I think the European Union should be much more focused for us on free trade in goods and services. If the British people decide that they want to leave the European Union, that’s not something I’d be afraid of.

‘In my 20 years in business I’ve worked around the world, I think we are already a global player, an international country when it comes to business. I want that to happen inside the European Union and we can reform it and focus it on trade and ensure it is not insular looking. We can all be better off inside the European Union if it can change some of its ways. But as I say, if the British people decide the decision is they want to leave the European Union, then that isn’t something that I’d be afraid of, I’d embrace the opportunities that would create.’”

Mr Javid is, of course, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. I wonder if the Government’s rather sizeable Eurosceptic Mafia is about to become more outspoken.


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