Brexit on minds of Britons in S'pore

The Union flag flies next to a European Union (EU) flag outside Europa House in London, UK.
The Union flag flies next to a European Union (EU) flag outside Europa House in London, UK. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

While Britons come to grips with what a hung Parliament might mean for the United Kingdom, some of those based in Singapore are equally concerned about what the results of the snap election might mean for British withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

Lawyer Isabelle Claisse, 39, who has lived in Singapore for 10 years, said the result of this election is a clear indication that the British people do not want a hard Brexit. Ms Claisse, who voted to stay in the EU, thinks British Prime Minister Theresa May can no longer push for a Brexit that would hurt the UK, adding: "From the perspective of a Remainer, this is the best possible thing that could happen in terms of mitigating the impact of Brexit."

Dr Bicky Bhangu, president of the British Chamber of Commerce, is also keeping a close eye on possible changes to the Brexit conversation.

Dr Bhangu said: "The British Chamber of Commerce will continue to help strengthen the UK-Singapore relationship to support the Brexit conversation and bilateral trade agreements. Our focus remains on strengthening relationships with Singapore Inc and growing our members' network opportunities in Singapore and beyond."

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Producer Joe Evans, who has lived in Singapore for six years, said he was happy that Mrs May's government was dealt a blow through losing her majority. The 30-year-old Labour supporter noted, though, that the UK's main challenges are Brexit and the country's ties with the EU, which he voted to remain in during last year's referendum.

Banker David Li, who has lived in Singapore for eight years, said his initial reaction was one of shock, because a hung Parliament means more uncertainty. The 48-year-old said: "If there is a possibility of a softer Brexit, more compromise and humility... if something like this would force us to be a bit more pragmatic... this may not be such a bad thing."

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Brexit on minds of Britons in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe