Mota Soares said it was sad for Europe but also “a sad and bad day for the United Kingdom itself because it greatly isolates the country (…) and places the United Kingdom in a scenario of political instability.”

The Popular Party MP, a member of the previous centre-right coalition government, added that this departure particularly “reduced the Atlantic dimension to the European Union” that was “in the Portuguese case, of especial importance.”

“The United Kingdom is the second largest European economy and a departure is always in this sense negative and also because the country very often served as a counterweight to the continental weighting within the European Union,” said Mota Soares.

However, the centre-right figure pointed to the UK’s likely continuation in NATO and that a set of Portuguese interests would have to be included within the framework of the discussions to come.

Mota Soares added that his party would be inviting the British ambassador to Lisbon, Kristy Hayes, to appear before the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights to discuss “the next steps and what is going to happen from the point of view of the negotiations now beginning.”