Andrew Turner, MP for the Isle of Wight, has criticised Liberal Democrat leader, the Rt Hon. Nick Clegg MP, following his contradictory stance over David Cameron’s decision to veto an EU treaty last week.
Mr Clegg also failed to attend the Prime Minister’s statement to the Commons on Monday in which he explained his decision to use the veto in the European Council summit.
The decision was taken by the Prime Minister that he could not enter a treaty being drawn up to help Eurozone economies because it was not in British interests. It came after EU leaders would not agree to safeguards for financial services and the City of London in light of the new treaty proposals which would have far-reaching control over the economies of countries on the continent. The sector is responsible for around 10pc of the UK’s GDP and provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in Britain.
A spokesman for Mr Clegg on Friday said he had been “consulted throughout” the 10 hours of unsuccessful negotiations in Brussels. He also confirmed that the Liberal Democrat leader was fully “signed up” to the decision to veto the proposed treaty.
However Mr Clegg later changed his position and said,
“I’m bitterly disappointed by the outcome of last week’s summit, precisely because I think now there is a danger that the UK will be isolated and marginalised within the European Union.”
Mr Turner responded by saying,
“Nick Clegg has been disingenuous and contradictory over this issue. On hearing of David Cameron’s decision to veto this treaty change – which was the right thing to do – he said he agreed with the outcome. However, he went back on that position when he realised how his words were being received by some Lib-Dem MPs.
“This is clearly a sign of weakness but it also highlights his out of touch attitude on the EU which flies directly in the face of public opinion. Most people – including many who voted Lib-Dem at the last election – agreed with Nick Clegg’s original support of the Government. Now he has flip-flopped, which is a very confusing position for the Lib-Dems and I believe will cause them even more problems in the future.”
Mr Turner also added,
“Even Nick Clegg’s claim that the UK will be ‘isolated’ in Europe is looking rather hollow. Although the other 26 EU nations indicated support for a treaty at the summit – some are now backtracking because they have to get the approval of their national parliaments. In a number of cases that is not a foregone conclusion. As more people across Europe realise what is being done in their name it will come as a rude awakening to some EU leaders that they will have to take account of the views of their voters.”
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