U.K. Foreign Secretary: Leave Voters Will Be Disappointed by Brexit Reality

Philip Hammond EU referndum
British Chancellor Philip Hammond in Downing Street, November 19, 2014 in London, England. And old leaflet shows Hammond once backed the death penalty. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, has called on those within the Conservative Party who voted for Brexit to clarify what shape the nation's exit from the EU should take. He told the ITV's Peston on Sunday that he believed there was a "fundamental dilemma at the heart of the Brexit position" and that there would have to be concessions made on freedom of movement in order for the U.K. to protect its long-term economic prosperity.

"Leave campaigners made contradictory promises to the British public, they now have to make a trade off between the different things they promised, which will be hugely disappointing to many in this country who voted to leave," Hammond said.

He refused to be drawn on which candidate he might back in the Conservative Party leadership contest, but was clear that whoever he supported would have to be prepared to campaign to retain Britain's membership of the single market. Hammond said that the public had not been "told the facts" during the campaign and that he would effectively back, what the show's host Robert Peston called "Brexit Light,"—a deal which allowed Britain to remain a gateway to the single market for foreign investment in exchange for allowing a degree of EU migration to continue unchecked.

"Our economy over the past 40 years has been shaped by that access [to the single market] to lose that access will be catastrophic. As we sit here I believe the flow of foreign investment to the U.K. has dried up as businesses wait to see what happens," he said, adding that if Britain did lose access to the single market the country would "slide down the scale" and end up poorer.

Since the result on Friday, Hammond said he had been ringing round his international counterparts to reassure them that Britain would would remain a key player in world affairs.

In terms of future arrangements for nations such as Gibraltar which shares a border with Spain, an EU nation, Hammond was clear that being outside the EU would reduce the U.K.'s ability to protect the overseas territory's economic interests. He pointed to Gibraltar's overwhelming 96 percent vote for Remain vote, saying that any disruption to the flow of workers across the border would be damaging to the country's economy.