UK Defence Secretary Fallon tells global leaders not to fear Brexit in first defence conference after Trump victory
Speaking at the first major foreign affairs and defence conference since Donald Trump won the US elections, UK Defence Secretary Fallon says Brexit means Brexit just as Trump means Trump, and that we will not turn inwards
Speaking on Friday at the Halifax International Security Forum, North America's leading foreign affairs and defence conference, and the first such gathering since Donald Trump won the US elections, UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon has told top international politicians not to fear Brexit and that both the British referendum and the recent US elections must be respected.
At a 300 strong conference with a bi-partisan Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, and including Hillary Clinton's running mate for president Senator Tim Kaine, as well as defence ministers from around the world, Fallon said:
"Although Britain is leaving the European Union we still have a role to pay in defending our European continent... and to continue to make democracy great again."
Referring to the need for people to respect the will of the people in both Britain and America, Fallon said that "Brexit means Brexit," just as "Trump means Trump".
Seeking to reassure the doubters, he added:
"Post referendum Britain has a clear sense of its place in the world... We democracies are going to have to be even bolder in our defence of democracy.
"...He [Trump] knows from his election that we cannot take democracy for granted... This is no time for any of us to turn inwards".
Fallon also expressed sympathy with Trump's demand that other countries meet their commitments to defend themselves:
"The president elect is right in expecting Europe to take greater responsibility in ensuring its own defence"
Britain is one of only five of the 28 NATO member nations spending 2 percent of GDP on defence.
Fallon was introduced at the conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, by Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan, whose country recently signed a wide ranging trade deal with the European Union.
Many analysts believe the The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could be a model for a deal between Britain and the EU when Brexit becomes a reality.
Britain voted to leave the European Union in a referendum held on June 23, 2016.
Reporting by Commentator staff at the conference
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