Queen Elizabeth urges unity in veiled Brexit message

British political leaders remain heavily divided on the way forward for leaving the EU

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 21, 2017 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Houses of Parliament in London on June 21, 2017.  Queen Elizabeth II has emphasised the need for Britons to come together to "seek out the common ground", in what has been viewed as an appeal to overcome divisions over Brexit. Speaking to members of the Women's Institute (WI) near her Sandringham estate in eastern England, the 92-year-old said people should never lose sight of the bigger picture. / AFP / POOL / Carl Court
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Queen Elizabeth has seemingly waded into the Brexit debate by sending by imploring people to seek “common ground” at a time when Britain’s political classes heavily divided over the UK leaving the EU.

In a relatively rare public intervention, she appeared to call for a spirit of compromise. Her message was welcomed by chancellor Phillip Hammond who said, “there is huge wisdom in these words.”

"As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture," the Queen told an audience at a Women’s Institute in Norfolk. At no point did she directly mentioned Brexit.

After her proposed Brexit deal was widely rejected by parliament, prime minister Theresa May has reached out to MPs to try and find a way through the impasse. Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has refused to sit down with Mrs May until she rules out the possibility of a potentially catastrophic no-deal Brexit. The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on March 29.

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Mr Hammond told BBC Radio: “"There is huge wisdom in those words and I don't think anybody will be at all surprised to hear the Queen advocating the view that in all things controversial we should seek compromise, we should seek common ground, we should seek a way forward.”

The last time the Queen appeared to publicly intervene in politics was during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. Speaking to locals in Balmoral made a comment about thinking “carefully” about the future, in a move deemed to be supporting Scotland staying in the UK.

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