Britain is paying the price for Cameron’s isolationism

It was tragic to see the evidence of lost British influence at yesterday’s summit in Brussels. We are an international trading economy and Cameron’s attempt to appease his back-benchers has excluded Britain from the top table.

Last night’s meeting was a disaster for the British economy and business. We should not be vetoing at the sidelines, we should be there at the centre shaping the future of the interlinked European economies. Since the eighties, British Governments have avoided a ‘two-tier Europe’. Cameron has just undone that work.

No-one is calling for Britain to join the euro, or to implement any legislation where we have an opt-out, we simply want to see British interests defended at the heart of Europe.

As part of David Cameron’s campaign to become Conservative Party Leader he promised to take the Conservative MEPs out of the mainstream Centre Right EPP block in the European Parliament. In 2009, Conservative MEPs left the EPP and set up the ECR, a fringe group in the European Parliament. Adrift from the mainstream group that Merkel and Sarkozy belong to, Cameron failed to build alliances before the summit.

In real terms this lack of influence will risk jobs in the East Midlands, and jobs and living standards all over the UK. Britain is a trading nation that relies heavily on international export and import agreements. Our biggest export market by far is the Eurozone, so it is absurd for David Cameron to give up the British seat at the table where decisions are made.

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  1. Robert Crosby says:

    I’ve concluded that the blinkered and the foolish who say that they support Cameron’s “showboating” at the European Council just don’t understand history. If they did, they would celebrate our active involvement in both the EU and the Council of Europe. The Tories (and, sadly, too many Lib Dems) haven’t grasped that it’s not so much what Cameron chose or chose not to sign up to on the day, but more the stupid, inane and provocative comments that he and his entourage made during the week leading up to the summit and then again in the days immediately afterwards. The EU may not be prefect in every respect, but you can’t deal with its problems if you’re on the outside, looking in.

    I want to see our Labour leadership in Westminster arguing more forcefully on a range of issues and Europe is one of them. We must continue to oppose the divisive forces of nationalism whether in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. Gordon Brown did the right thing and sought to co-operate with other nations. Cameron has done the equivalent of spinning a roulette wheel while caring only about how he can placate his rabid right wing to the exclusion of all other considerations.

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