By Jacob Bojesson
A citizen petition calls for U.S. President Barack Obama to be banned from speaking in the British Parliament, following revelations that he plans a big intervention on “Brexit.”
The reason behind the petition is Obama’s plans for “a big, public reach-out” to persuade Britons to vote against the referendum to leave the European Union, otherwise known as “Brexit.” More than 7,500 people have signed the petition as of Monday morning, 2,500 short of forcing Parliament to respond.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee revealed the plans for an Obama intervention to The Guardian recently.
“I know the president is planning to make a pretty big public reach-out in this regard,” Corker said. “How do you think the people of the UK will respond to us at the highest level embracing this?”
Recent polls show a slight support to leave the EU, which many believe would lead to the eventual collapse of the union altogether. Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron are among the leaders who believe a “leave” decision will have negative consequences for Europe and its trade relations with countries such as the U.S.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke out on the issue Saturday, saying Europe will “emerge stronger than ever” as long as it stays united.
“Europe is going to emerge stronger than ever, provided it stays united and builds common responses to these challenges,” Kerry said at a security conference in Munich Saturday. “Now obviously, the United States has a profound interest in your success, as we do in a very strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU.”
Several U.K. politicians have spoken out against Kerry’s comments, saying it is Britain’s decision to make, and others should stay out of it.
“Most British people will feel this is a debate for us and it’s unusual for a foreign country to wish to intervene,” Conservative Member of Parliament John Redwood said following Kerry’s comments. “I don’t know what he means by it. I don’t suppose he’s thought it through at all.”
Obama is scheduled to visit Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel in April, which could be the time for his intervention. The vote on Brexit will take place before the end of 2017, and may happen as early as this year.