Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Defiant UK Parliament praises Cameron and rebalances EU relationship

Yesterday the UK Parliament (House of Commons) adopted, by 278 votes to 200 (all Liberal Democrat MPs abstaining), the following motion:

That this House commends the Prime Minister on his refusal at the European Council to sign up to a Treaty without safeguards for the UK; regards the use of the veto in appropriate circumstances to be a vital means of defending the national interests of the UK; and recognises the desire of the British people for a rebalancing of the relationship with our European neighbours based on co-operation and mutually beneficial economic arrangements.

BBC News UK Politics offer additional information.


When prime minister David Cameron defended his EU summit blunder, he also soothingly said that Britain remains a full member of the European Union and that EU membership is vital to Britain's national interest.

Parliament has now changed tack in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (and its member states).

The general tenor of the debate and the wording of the praise can be described as defiant.

Parliament calls for a rebalancing of the UK's relationship with the European Union towards economic arrangements solely.

When Parliament commends prime minister Cameron for his refusal to allow an EU agreement – not affecting Britain – to pass, it has to be noted that the ”safeguards for the UK” had nothing whatsoever to do with the treaty proposal at hand at the European Council.

There is a positive expectation from Parliament for more British vetoes to come.

Leaders of the EU institutions and in the member states have expressed wishes to see the United Kingdom become a responsible and constructive member of the European Union, but in vain as we now see.

If the Liberal Democrats were able to explain Cameron's European summit catastrophe as an unfortunate accident, the new course set and the hostility shown from the government benches breaks the moral backbone of the coalition.

This is a watershed for the Liberal Democrats, who have tried in vain to temper the tribalist spirits among the Conservatives. If Nick Clegg and the other LibDem ministers do not resign, they make a historic mistake. Better to live with honour, than to suffer the contempt from such coalition partners.

Ralf Grahn