British public backs EU veto

2011-12-11 10:21
London - British Prime Minister David Cameron won public approval on Sunday for his decision to veto a new EU treaty to solve the eurozone crisis, but cracks began to appear in his coalition government over the move.

A new poll revealed 62% support for Cameron's decision following all-night talks in Brussels overnight on Thursday, echoing the warm welcome it received among eurosceptics within his Conservative party.

The Mail on Sunday survey also confirmed strong public backing - 66% - for a referendum on Britain's role in the European Union, which the eurosceptics have long been calling for.

Cameron is keen to avoid such a vote, however, partly because of the damage it could do to his coalition with the pro-European Liberal Democrats - and reports suggest his dramatic veto is already causing problems.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has publicly backed Cameron's move but a source close to him told the Independent on Sunday that he was privately furious at the way the Brussels summit turned out.

Describing the result as a "spectacular failure to deliver in the country's interest", the source said: "It leaves us isolated in Europe and that is not in our national interest.

"Nick's fear is that we become the lonely man of Europe."

Cameron had sought to secure safeguards for Britain's financial sector from new measures designed to resolve the debt crisis and when these were rejected, he used his veto to block attempts to enshrine the changes into the EU's treaties.

Tensions

The other 26 nations have now agreed in principle to join a "new fiscal compact" through intergovernmental agreements, but this has sparked fears that Britain will be left out of future key discussions on EU economic issues.

The Tories and the centrist Lib Dems have been governing together since the May 2010 election.

Never natural bedfellows, they have survived several challenges, but Europe was always a potential flashpoint.

Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes risked further inflaming tensions on Saturday by telling Conservative eurosceptics hoping to use this moment to renegotiate Britain's ties with Europe to "calm down".

"We are not going to be negotiating treaty change. There will not be an opportunity for them to pull us further away from Europe. That's off the table," said Hughes.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague, a leading eurosceptic and former Tory leader, defended Cameron's actions.

Britain's demands at the EU summit had been "moderate, reasonable and relevant", he said, rejecting reports it wanted an opt-out or anything that would have given Britain an unfair advantage in the single market.





Read more on:    david cameron  |  europe  |  europe debt crisis

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.