BISHOP of Chelmsford The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell has said it is vital that Britain finds a way of leaving the European Union without leaving Europe following the Brexit vote.
Bishop Cottrell, who did not vote in favour of Brexit, said that the focus now needs to be on ensuring that Britain can live peaceably alongside its European neighbours in a way that brings prosperity.
He said: “Now the vote has taken place, it seems to me to be really important that we find a way of leaving the European Union but not leaving Europe.
Bishop Cottrell added: “I think one of the dangers is that we will cut ourselves off from those countries which are our nearest neighbours, which we depend on for trade, for labour, for all sorts of things.
“Therefore we must work very hard to both get a deal which works for us and works for our neighbours but also one which doesn’t increase tension and animosity between the different nations in Europe.
“I think whatever people thought about Brexit the day before Brexit, we’ve got to let go of all of that and now make the very best future for ourselves and for our neighbours.”
“My anxiety is that there can be an attitude, particularly for a nation like ours which is an island, there can be an attitude that somehow we can go it alone. I don’t think we can.”
The bishop also felt that despite the vote to leave the European Union, Britain would still need workers from around the world to boost the economy.
He said: “Whether you are Pret a Manger or Southend Hospital, we need workers from around the world. There just simply aren’t enough people in Britain ready and prepared to do the jobs that need doing.
“There’s other people from other countries prepared to do them and skilled to do them so that’s what it means to be part of a global economy.”
He was speaking during the annual Easter interview with the Yellow Advertiser.