Lord Nigel Lawson hopes Irish Republic realises its "mistake" and rejoins UK following Brexit

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher made his comments during a debate on the EU referendum

Lord Nigel Lawson, Brexit, Ireland, Republic

Former chancellor Nigel Lawson, who has announced he will lead a Conservative campaign to leave the EU [Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire]

A former government minister under Thatcher’s government, Lord Nigel Lawson has said that the Republic of Ireland could ask to once again join the United Kingdom while speaking at a debate on the forthcoming referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union.

Lawson, father of celebrity cook Nigella Lawson and chairman of the Vote Leave campaign group, also said “it would be great” if the Irish free state realised it had “made a mistake” in getting independence from Britain in 1922.

The 83-year-old statesman, who served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as the UK’s Prime Minister, made his off-the-cuff remarks while answering a question of what a British exit from the EU would mean for the border between the two distinct nations on the island of Ireland.

Replying, Lawson said that the United Kingdom has a “special relationship with the Irish Republic, for obvious historical reasons, but also reasons of sentiment.”

Lawson then added: “I would be very happy f the Republic of Ireland – I don’t think it’s going to happen – were to say we made a mistake in getting independence in 1922, and come back within the United Kingdom. That would be great.”

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