UK Deputy PM Nick Clegg’s two-faced response to EU crisis; long knives out for PM Cameron?

Nick Clegg warns European veto ‘bad for Britain’

BBC News
11 December 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says David Cameron’s veto of EU treaty changes was “bad for Britain” and could leave it “isolated and marginalised”.

But he blamed French and German “intransigence” and pressure from Eurosceptic Conservatives for putting the PM in “a very difficult position”.

Initially Mr Clegg said the coalition was united over the use of the veto.

But he told the BBC he had “made it clear” to Mr Cameron it was “untenable” for him to welcome the move.

Sources close to Mr Clegg have told the BBC he “couldn’t believe it” when he was told the summit in Brussels had “spectacularly unravelled”.

The prime minister blocked changes to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty at an EU summit, arguing that the proposed changes were not in the UK’s interest.

It now looks likely that all 26 other members of the European Union will agree to a new “accord” setting out tougher budget rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the current eurozone crisis.

As leader of the Liberal Democrats, Mr Clegg is far more pro-European than his Conservative coalition colleagues.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: “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 Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne have insisted the veto was in part to protect the City of London from excessive intervention by Europe, but Labour and the UK Independence Party have both warned that actually no additional safeguards for it were achieved.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the City was “under very serious threat” of “retribution”, adding: “Every time the bond markets twitch I can see the finger being pointed at those awful Anglo Saxons in the City of London.”…

The complete article, with video, is at BBC News.

Recall MEP Nigel Farage’s reaction to the Cameron vote:

Update: Melanie Phillips thinks David Cameron had it coming, and maybe she’s right: certainly the British people should have been given the choice decide their own destiny. Read, A minister undermined –and the revolt over Europe

How interesting that Britain’s Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has emerged as the effective leader of the Tory revolt against David Cameron’s ill-considered refusal to allow the British people a referendum over the proposed EU treaty change, which has been stitched up by German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy to stop the EU from imploding altogether.

IDS has of course always been known to be a strong EU-sceptic. But until now, he has remained resolutely silent on this and other issues on which he might be presumed to dissent vigorously from the government’s line. This was despite the betrayal by David Cameron of his promise before the last general election to grant a referendum on the EU constitution — not to mention his feebleness over the EU since then, despite the Eurocrats’ ever-more outrageous anti-democratic activities and the clear desire of the British public now to renegotiate its relationship with the whole intrinsically ruinous European project…

In the end, the politicians all appear to be playing politics with the freedom of the citizens of Great Britain.

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