British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg sulked at Premier David Cameron’s approach to European treaty changes at Brussels summit, thus sparking disagreements in the coalition government. The Liberal Democrats party leader said he was disappointed with the Prime Minister for rejecting closer ties with Europe, and declared it would make Britain a “pygmy in the world?.
However, he also criticised the role played by France and Germany to isolate Britain.
Clegg, considered one of the most pro-European politicians in Britain, dismissed rumours that the differences would lead to the break up of Conservatives-Lib Dem coalition. Initially, he backed the Prime Minister?s stand in Brussels last weekend ?and claimed the coalition had a ?united? position.
But, amid growing Liberal Democratic party fury, the deputy prime minister was forced to reverse his stance and lash out at David Cameron to shore up his own position.
Given the opportunity, Nick Clegg slyly criticised Tory MPs for pressuring Cameron to veto the European treaty changes. “There?s nothing bulldog about Britain hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, not standing tall in Europe and not being taken seriously in Washington,” he said while speaking to reporters while adding that Britain must now work hard to ensure it is not ignored by both Europe and the US.
Diehard Tory MP Mark Pritchard rebuked Lib Dem leader’s comments. The Tory MPs made it clear they would step up pressure on David Cameron and even stage a referendum on Britain?s membership of the EU. However, they remarked that the Lib Dems might force an election by walking out of the coalition altogether.
A Survation poll suggested widespread public support for the Prime Minister?s tough stance at Brussels. About 62% agreed with Cameron was right, while only 19% opposed. About 48% responded that Britain should quit the EU, compared with 33% who wanted to stay in.
Reports say Business Secretary Vince Cable was furious over the veto and was on the verge of resigning. His office denied such reports. Cable did admit that he would speak out aggressively against Cameron?s veto.
Labour leader Ed Miliband also attacked the Prime Minister’s stance, saying his decision failed to win any new protections for the City and will leave Britain isolated.
Sources: Telegraph.uk, MailOnline, Guardian