Former Head of Civil Service thinks Brexit might not happen

10 Downing Street flickr
Gus O’Donnell before his peerage advising Gordon Brown

IN AN interview with The Times newspaper Lord O’Donnell who was effectively the Head of the Civil Service under both Labour and Conservative governments said that in his opinion there was a slight possibility that Britain would remain within a less restrictive European Union despite the result of the referendum.

He did see it as being more likely that Britain would leave but argued that as the drafting of Article 50 – which would trigger the two year countdown for exit negotiations – was so biased in favour of the Union rather than the country that wishes to leave that it would almost take years and years before Britain was able to extricate itself.

During that time, public opinion could well have changed and if the EU became less of a federal organisation (which it may have to do due to pressure from other member States) then remaining within the group might be much more appealing.


Like any good former civil servant, he hedged his bets offering this as one possibility for the future although he recognised that the prime minister has indicated her intention to get on and implement the majority vote in the referendum.




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