Brexit could ‘fragment the Western world’ – William Hague

William Hague. © Stefan Wermuth
A British exit from the EU could lead to a broad fragmentation of the Western world, former-Euroskeptic and ex-foreign secretary William Hague has warned.

Hague, who served as Conservative leader during the party’s long spell in opposition, surprised many by backing the Remain campaign, given his career-long hostility to a united Europe.

Ahead of a speech on the issue on Wednesday, he told the BBC enough had changed in the bloc to make staying in the lesser of two evils.

Some things have changed, which make it safe and possible to stay in the European Union. We were still fighting for those things back in the 1990s,” he argued.

Speaking of security issues he said: “Now I believe a great danger is a fragmentation of the Western world, in the face of terrorism and many other threats, including great economic threats and uncertainty and the UK leaving the EU will contribute to dividing us across the Atlantic and splitting America and Europe.

He suggested fellow skeptics should “raise our eyes from parochial concerns” and examine the challenges “of the next 20 or 30 years. That is something that has changed compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

Hague has made a number of surprising interventions in recent time, including his claim in April that the Middle East is worse because there hasn’t been enough Western intervention.

He told the Telegraph that without foreign guidance the region’s booming population, as well as “religious hatred, poor governance” and a “lack of economic success,” would see Europe flooded with migrants.

Acknowledging some of the mistakes of the UK’s 2011 war in Libya and its disastrous aftermath, Hague said: “There is a danger of drawing the wrong conclusions from this experience, and enfeebling ourselves with a reluctance to send force overseas just when we will have a vital need to do so.