Rolling record of Tory MPs' comments on new EU Treaty
Friday 8.45am John Redwood MP blogs:
"Orderly but rapid break up would be the least cost option. It would liberate the countries allowed out, and permit them to adjust their competitiveness by a devaluation which would be swift and easier to sell than large wage cuts. There is no foundation to the proposition that the EU would lose 10-50% of its output if they changed currencies. To my knowledge 87 countries have left currency unions since 1945. In most cases they have prospered more after exit. The successful break up of the 16 member rouble bloc could be the model."
8.30pm Philip Hollobone told Sky News:
"...we need to have a disorderly breakup so that the whole of Europe and the rest of the world economy can get back to significant economic growth in the future. This idea that we can prop up the eurozone in the next ten years with constant austerity is just not going to work."
6.45pm The leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan MEP said:
"If there is any treaty change which creates European fiscal union then clearly that will radically effect the UK and that should be put to a referendum. That is what democracy demands, because we would be creating a fundamental change to the EU and our relationship with it. However, that could take years to complete. It might be a way to solve the next crisis - but not this one. That is why the focus should be on measures to address the issues at the heart of this crisis."
He said these would include "The casual one-size-fits-all approach that had undermined the euro from its foundations", "The massive economic imbalance between its prosperous and economically-disciplined members and those which were debt-ridden and financially dysfunctional", "The over-regulation which hampered wealth-creation and innovation and encouraged a dependency culture in struggling states."
5.30pm Paul Waugh reports that Edward Leigh said the following in a Westminster Hall debate this afternoon:
"We have had enough of reading of British prime ministers over the last 20 to 30 years in the days preceding a summit that 'they will stand up for the British national interest' and then coming back from a summit with a kind of Chamberlain-esque piece of paper saying, 'I have negotiated very, very hard, I have got opt-outs on this and that and I have succeeded in standing up for British interests'."
Update: Paul Waugh tweets:
"No.10 hits back at Edward Leigh's Chamberlain remarks. PM's spokeswoman: "It was offensive and ridiculous.""
5.15pm Nadine Dorries blogged:
"I have no doubt that the PM will return with some form of a guarantee for Britain as the last thing Merkel wants is a referendum in Britain. If Britain succumbs, other countries may follow suit and the effect such an event would have on the markets would be damaging for Germany. After all, it’s all about Germany. A fiscal union of 17 EU members forming one new country and in effect a new trading block will have huge implications for Britain and British business. It's time we gave the British people their say via a referendum. The next two days will test the Prime Ministers courage and skills. If he misses this opportunity to grasp the nettle and give the British People their say, they may eventually make him pay with the one vote they will have."
4.15pm Nick Boles appeared on the Daily Politics show this afternoon, and argued:
"Today is the moment of maximum economic danger for Britain. Our retail sales are falling, manufacturing output is collapsing, Brazil has stalled, China has stalled. The entire global economy is sitting on the edge of an abyss and the urgent priority for the British people is to protect our economy and their jobs by getting this Eurozone crisis fixed. We need to repatriate powers but we need to come to that after we've saved our economy, not before. ... What I want David Cameron to do is to protect our economy, protect our jobs - mainly, because that's the thing that's under most threat from the Eurozone - protect the City of London, but he needs to help them get a solution to the Eurozone crisis so that the entire European economy doesn't fall apart. ... We are going to work out an entirely new kind of outer-tier relationship, and that is a big exercise, it's a very important exercise, and it offers big opportunities for Britain, but it's probably going to take two or three years - it's not the work of a weekend when the global economy is on the precipice."
3.30pm Sir Peter Tapsell told Radio 4:
"The fact is the French and German leaders have been meeting for weeks and weeks. I have very little doubt that they will not be able to solve the eurocrisis on Friday but it is very much in the British national interests that it should be solved. As we argued at the time of the Maastricht Treaty to think that you can have a single a interest rate for a whole variety of countries at different stages in their development. And that remains true today and although we opted out of the euro right from the beginning and very sensibly so, but we are affected by the euro and I feel really sceptical that they can solve to eurocrisis, I don’t expect it to survive. ... The reason why Europe is in crisis has to be traced back to the Maastricht Treaty. They then introduced a whole series of measures which weakened the European economy by comparison with those of the Far East and America and so on."
"Back in 1990-something, a British Prime Minister keen to cut a deal in Brussels, but worried about a backlash back home could spin their way out of trouble. A robust sounding article in the Sun or the Times, perhaps. Or a manufactured row allowing you to claim you’ve been bravely defending the national interest. Yesterday’s headlines about vetoing a treaty that wasn’t in the national interest were unspun before lunch time. Any concocted row to try to appear robust will today have the opposite effect. What we are seeing in Westminster this week is not a re-run of old Tory battles on Europe. It is as much a story about how the internet is starting to change our politics for the better."
12.30pm Mark Reckless told Sky News this morning:
"I think the only really way of dealing with this at the moment is to return to national currencies, restore competitiveness and the sooner we do that, the sooner we will see Europe get back to growth. ... We saw in the debate in Parliament a month or so ago, we saw a very large number of Conservative MPs that, yes, now is the time for a referendum. The Liberal Democrats have said that. And I think that’s what most of my colleagues believe. And I wish the Prime Minister well negotiating in our interests in this summit but the key thing is that whatever the arrangements are in the European Union in the future – like ‘refounding’ as Nicolas Sarkozy puts it – we have to have a referendum to decide whether we want to be part of that."
9.45am: John Redwood blogs:
"Mr Cameron has a simple choice. He can either go along with the plans for a German Europe, and be hailed by federalists as a good European, or he can call their bluff and speak for the UK.
Mr Cameron needs to say the UK needs a new relationship based on trade and friendship, and refuse to sign anything without agreement to that. He can offer them the ultimate solution for the UK problem. The UK can opt out of the intrusive government in return for letting them go ahead. If he sits in silence, or presses for a small concession, he will suit neither the home audience nor please Mrs Merkel. Looking at yesterday’s Question Time performance of many Conservatives, he only has a majority for Merkel”s Europe if Labour supports him."
6am Thursday: Bernard Jenkin MP for the Guardian:
"The mantra for David Cameron's leadership campaign was "Change to win". As leader he has changed some things, but not others – in particular the failed orthodoxy of Conservative policy on Europe. And now he finds that he and his government are ill-prepared to deal with the scale of the EU challenge facing Britain. If he does not change direction very soon the UK will lose in Europe, and the Conservatives will continue to lose the support of the country.
All the evidence is that most people are incensed by the EU but they do not believe any leading politician intends to do anything about it. Cameron has a unique opportunity to change that. The Conservatives have never attempted a calm and rational articulation of these frustrations with the EU, nor done any serious work on how to achieve a fundamental change in the relationship with our EU partners. Many would argue that this EU avoidance cost us an overall majority at the 2010 election. We can avoid it no longer."
5.30pm Wednesday: Nick de Bois MP:
"When the Leader of the Opposition asks provocatively exactly which powers the Prime Minister seeks to repatriate from Brussels, I cannot be the only backbencher screaming back ‘employment law’. There is no reason we should have the rules and regulations regarding SME’s formed miles away by bureaucrats with no experience of the private sector.
On Friday we are likely to see the beginnings of a treaty which will affect us whether we are signatory to it or not. So in addition to being an ambassador for the City I hope he will be a strong voice for British business.
Individuals need the ability to hire and fire, run a shop or service without burdensome health and safety regulation or even start a new enterprise without extensive legal knowledge. If the Prime Minister can ring fence and repatriate these powers, we may start to see the supply-side growth that will fuel our recovery."
10am, Wednesday: Mark Pritchard MP on the BBC's Daily Politics Show:
"The Conservative Parliamentary Party are rooting for the Prime Minister. We want him to have come back from Europe having secured powers back. My top priority is the Financial Transaction Tax not to apply to the City of London. That tax would have a direct impact on the lives of millions of Britain, attacking their pension funds. At the very minimum, that is what I think a lot of colleagues expect.
The financial transaction tax would be a starting point, and I think the work in time directive, making progress on the temporary agency workers… People say, ‘what is euroscepticism today’ and I say that then majority of colleagues that I speak to agree with what I call growth enhancing euroscepticism – that is those powers being repatriated back that help the British economy and grow jobs.
At the moment, Europe isn’t in the top three concerns of most voters. They are jobs, growing the economy and their standard of living. My view is that over the coming months… that European missing link will connect. That is ordinary voters saying they do now care about Europe as they see it as more of a problem rather than a cure. Once that link is made we will see the European issue come into the top three rather than be in the top ten."
3pm, Tuesday: More from Andrea Leadsom (writing for PoliticsHome):
"The eurozone debt crisis will dominate Friday’s summit, but the UK delegation should not be bashful about fighting our corner and influencing the agenda. We had the good sense not to join the euro and have every right to be involved in shaping the new-look, post-crisis European Union... Governments in the UK come and go - it would be ridiculous to imagine that laws passed 35 years ago are all fit for purpose today. It should not come as a surprise to the bureaucrats in the EU if we make it clear that reform and change are needed for a successful EU in the 21st century. There is a new reality in Europe and the European Union needs to get with the programme."
12.15pm Tuesday: Douglas Carswell MP on BBC News:
"Well, unfortunately for the political elite, the people aren't just going to go away. You know, the people in whose name these deals are being made, are still here. We were promised by all three party leaders in the last Parliament that we would have a referendum on Europe: the Conservatives went into the last election talking about a referendum lock. Page 63 of Lib Dem manifesto promised an in-out referendum. The politicians deliberately and carefully cultivated the impression that they would give us a referendum on Europe. Now that it doesn't suit them to do that, they have dismissed this as perhaps something that wasn't in the Coalition agreement and something that they can afford to ignore. I'm afraid 16m people just cannot be ignored.
We need a say over whether or not the new deal that will emerge as a result of these negotiations is in our national interest or not.
Carswell described current discussions over the treaty as a:
"historic opportunity, an unprecedented opportunity, for us to finally get the sort of relationship with Europe that politicians claimed before election time that they want. Why are we not pushing for that sort of new deal, and putting it to the people?
Ultimately, can we trust ministers and mandarins to make deals with Europe on our behalf without having to put the outcome of their deal making to the people? I don't think we can, which is why we need a new deal followed by a referendum. It's what they promised after all.
They are trying to solve a problem created by Europe by giving us more Europe. They are bailing out and borrowing an it's not really fixing the problem. How's that fiscal union looking this morning? According to some of the credit ratings agencies, it may be slightly problematic."
8.30am Tuesday: Stewart Jackson MP on ConHome:
"People will not understand if our Prime Minister fails to take advantage of the unique generational opportunity and congruence of events to press British interests and, more specifically, recast a whole new more mature and looser relationship with the European Union, in the event that the Eurozone countries head off towards a children’s crusade of “fiscal discipline” – which it never has been and never will be in this country’s long-term political and economic interests to support. The idea that the solution to a sovereign debt crisis is financial and political union flies in the face of reality and the withering verdict of the money markets."
Following today's meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Tory MPs have been giving their reaction:
Bill Cash MP:
It therefore requires a referendum, irrespective of the attempt to bypass the British people with the European Union Act this year.
Ideally the Treaty should be vetoed but if the Government is determined to persist then it must hold a referendum.
A fiscal union of the Eurozone-17 will undermine the Single Market and the City of London and will be as unstable as water. Germany will not be able to bail out the other Member States in the Eurozone and it will lead to an unhealthy predominance of German control over the affairs of other countries.
Similar considerations arise in relation to a Treaty of the EU-27 which would also be a major Treaty change fundamentally affecting the relationship of Britain to the European Union.
Nobody wants an implosion in Europe but the very people who by their insistence on an unworkable and now failed project who caused this system by their idealistic fantasises are the very ones calling for more integration, leading to even greater instability than already exists.
It is a bid for political union and the British people whose lives are affected by their decisions must be allowed to have their say.”
John Redwood MP:
"If I were in his [Cameron's] position I would think this were one of my best negotiating cards. I would say to them that we don’t want to stand in their way if they really want to go ahead. We couldn’t possibly join it as I don’t think it would work for us, but you must understand that we need a different relationship.
The British people feel very strongly that we need a different relationship with this emerging, very big economy on the continent and we will ask the British people as that is the way to make sure the EU negotiations with us seriously."
It would be complicated to draft a completely new legal structure which was different to the EU structure and get approval in all the member states. It would be great from Britain’s point of view because then we would have the guarantee that none of the powers that they needed for the 17 would apply to us. The danger in the 27 is that there will be slippage and leakage. It is very difficult keeping Britain out of all the powers that they have already taken or may take to try and complete their monetary union.
I’m not trying to bring pressure to bear. I and many colleagues feel the same, and I think the country feels the same. Polls show that 80% of the public are with us when we say that Britain needs a new and looser relationship with this emerging single currency on the continent."
Chris Heaton Harris MP
"The eurozone is the backdrop to just about every political decision we’re making at the moment. It’s directly affecting our economy, it’s actually slowing our economy down, so it’s diminishing our chances for growth in the economy, so I’d say it’s a very big deal for the United Kingdom and we should be out there arguing our points.
I’m waiting to see the detail of what’s announced at the end of the week, and I would suspect that, if it does mean a fiscal and political integration of the 17 eurozone countries, that does change the nature of the relationship, because they will, after 2014, be able to outvote us through qualified majority voting.
“That changes the nature of the relationship with the ten countries in the EU but outside the eurozone and so maybe there’ll be more reason for the Prime Minister to look again at this
It was Merkel and Sarkozy calling for a treaty of the 27 countries and, although we don’t know what the detail of that would be, it would suggest to me that there’s going to be an awful lot of caucusing of power around the 17 eurozone countries, which directly effects how the UK is represented in the European Union.”
Andrea Leadsom MP:
"I agree if the government is saying now is the time to protect the City. If we are on the brink of a banking collapse it is in the UK's interests to protect the financial system [by agreeing to treaty change]. But I hope to see a mark in the sand that Britain will want to see some adjustments to protect British interests. It does not need to be tub-thumping, just a mark in the sand."