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British PM's adviser shrugs off concerns about Brexit tensions

British PMs adviser shrugs off concerns about Brexit tensions

London: A senior adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed concerns that politicians' heated rhetoric over Brexit is polarising society, telling supporters that it isn't surprising that people are upset about the country's failure to leave the European Union.

The prime minister has been accused of whipping up divisions with his charged language about Brexit opponents in the House of Commons this

week.

But adviser Dominic Cummings told backers at a book launch that the only way to calm tensions over Brexit is for British lawmakers to respect the result of the 2016 referendum and take the country out of the European Union.

Cummings claimed that Britain's current political chaos is "a walk in the park" compared with the referendum campaign in which the country narrowly voted to leave the EU.

Three years later, Britain and its politicians remain bitterly divided over how, or even whether, to leave the 28-nation bloc.

"We are enjoying this," said Cummings, one of the architects of the 2016 "leave" campaign.

"We are going to leave and we are going to win."

In a raucous, ill-tempered parliamentary debate Wednesday, Johnson argued that he is safeguarding the will of the public against the interests of the political establishment, which wants to remain in the EU.

He said postponing the country's departure would "betray" the people, referred to an opposition law ordering a Brexit delay as the "Surrender Act" and brushed off concerns that his forceful language might endanger legislators as "humbug."

Bishops at the Church of England on Friday appealed for calm amid the growing acrimony.

"We should speak to others with respect," the bishops said in a statement. "And we should also listen ... We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes."

Johnson, a Conservative, took power two months ago with a "do-or-die" promise that Britain will leave the EU on the scheduled date of October 31, with or without a divorce deal cushioning the economic consequences.

His foes in Parliament are determined to avoid a no-deal exit, which economists say would disrupt trade with the EU and plunge Britain into recession.

Concerns abound over how the country would adjust to the sudden shock. Britain's government watchdog says there is still a "significant amount" of work to do to ensure the country has an adequate supply of medical drugs in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Agencies

Agencies

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