Turkey is on course to join the European Union in the year 3000 on its current rate of progress, David Cameron said as he launched a brutal attack on one of his own ministers.
The Prime Minister called Penny Mordaunt’s claims that Britain had no veto over Turkish accession to the 28-member bloc “misleading” and “absolutely wrong”.
Turkey is set to join the EU in the next eight years and the UK will be unable to block the move, the Armed Forces Minister had insisted.
But Mr Cameron told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “The Leave campaign are making a very misleading claim.”Asked if Ms Mordaunt had been wrong to say Britain would not be able to veto its membership, he replied: “Absolutely wrong. Let me be clear, Britain and every other country in the European Union has a veto on another country joining. That is a fact, and the fact that the Leave campaign are getting things as straightforward as this wrong should call into question their whole judgment in making the bigger argument about leaving the EU.”
Asked if Ms Mordaunt was qualified to stay in government, he told Robert Peston: “Her responsibilities are in the Ministry of Defence, she is doing a very good job. But on this question of whether of not we have a veto, the Leave campaign are wrong.”
He added: “It is not remotely on the cards that Turkey is going to join the EU any time soon. They applied in 1987. At the current rate of progress they will probably get round to joining in about 3000, according to latest forecasts.”