Date of release: Monday, March 19, 2018

An alternative to "the Punch and Judy show we read every day in the papers" is how the University of Greenwich Brexit lecture series has been described.

Finishing last week with Lord O'Donnell's talk, Making Brexit Work, the series discussed the financial implications of Brexit, the UK's foreign and security policies outside of the EU, and how sympathetic but quizzical Europeans saw the issue.

Jon Sibson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the university's Business School, said: "We felt there was a role for Greenwich to provide a space for informed, reasoned debate on Brexit – displacing the Punch and Judy show we read every day in the papers.

"These memorable and thought-provoking lectures have done more than done that. The credit for this event belongs with Sir Leigh Lewis, a visiting Fellow at the Business School."

Radoslaw Sikorski looked at the EU's role in holding members to account, specifically Germany. He said: "What if Germany turns against the European Union? Then we will be thinking back to those happy days when the Germans were being European.

"The EU was always about, in part, managing Germany. Because it has been, will be, and is the most important country in Europe with an economy and population that dwarfs others. The EU puts Germany in a context where their power is used for beneficial ends and German power is 'safe' for Europe, its neighbours and indeed for Germany herself."

Lord Hain opened the series in January, saying that the only salvation for the UK from Brexit would be if Britain stays within the single market and the Customs' Union. On the promised extra £350m a week for the NHS, he added: "It isn't going to happen, it's actually costing us that to leave."

Sir Simon Gass said that a global Britain could happen: "But not just because you say it will happen. It needs a clear vision, a structured approach and long-term grit to see things through. The question is, will the government do the necessary things to achieve that vision?"

On building partnerships with China, Brazil, Japan and others, he added: "It's much easier to build on existing strong relationships with countries whose values and beliefs are close to ours than it is with countries who may be less interested in us than we are in them."

In the final lecture, Lord O'Donnell said if only women had voted in the referendum the UK would have stayed in Europe by 51 to 49. Adding that the UK would only have the outline of a trade deal in 2019, he said that the ideal post-Brexit UK economy would be "modern, open, tolerant and democratic. We all want that and we thought we had it."