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Lloyd's chairman weighs in on U.K. exit from European Union

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John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s of London, said Tuesday he believed it was “irresponsible” of some politicians to assert that the United Kingdom could replicate the benefits of being within a single market if it votes to leave the European Union on June 23.

In a speech to Lloyd’s annual general meeting, Mr. Nelson said that if voters opt to leave the E.U. in the referendum next month, the U.K. “would have no right of access to the E.U. markets without signing up to E.U. regulations — and indeed incur the financial consequences of contributions to the E.U. — as happens to other countries within Europe who are outside the E.U.”

Mr. Nelson, who has on several other occasions stated that he believed it would be better for Lloyd’s if the U.K. were to remain within the E.U., said it was unrealistic to expect the U.K. to be able to obtain bilateral trading agreements with countries outside of the E.U. that would put itself in an equal position as countries within the E.U. bloc trading with overseas countries.

“Again, these agreements — of which there would need to be many — would take years to negotiate,” he said.

On June 23, U.K. voters will take to the polls to answer the referendum question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

According to a poll this week by ORB International, 55% of respondents backed the U.K. to remain within the E.U.