LONDON—More than 40 former British ambassadors have written to UK Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to delay Brexit.
They warned on Feb. 14 that Britain’s exit from the EU has become a “national crisis” and that even if the deal May struck with the EU is passed, Britain would face “endless uncertainty” about its future.
The letter, signed by former ambassadors to United States, France, and Russia, was organized by the People’s Vote, which is pushing for a second referendum.
The diplomats said that the best course of action for Britain would be to extend Article 50—the plan under which a country leaves the EU—because “there is no possible deal that will be a sensible alternative to the privileged one we have today as members of the EU.”
They wrote: “If the Prime Minister’s deal is passed in Parliament, it will not be the end of Brexit but will in fact mark the start of year upon year of negotiation and renegotiation—truly a ‘Brexternity’ of endless uncertainty about our future for both citizens and businesses alike.
“Our advice to Theresa May today is clear: We should not leave the EU when we have no clarity about our final destination. Instead we must use the mechanisms at our disposal, above all we must seek to extend the Article 50 negotiating period.”
The letter concludes, “Our country’s national interest must always be paramount. The Brexit fiasco has already weakened the UK’s standing in the world. We strongly advocate a change of direction before it is too late.”
Former Ambassador to the United States Sir Nigel Sheinwald declared his support for a second referendum for the first time with the publication of the letter.
May has continually insisted she doesn’t support a second referendum.
On Feb. 13, European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU is waiting for Britain to present its proposals so that negotiations on the divorce deal could continue.