Differences over the UK’s role in relation to Europe made it awkward for Britain’s new political heads to pull together a political compromise.
In debate, David Cameron had said: “One of the things I would do if I were your prime minister is straight away pass a law through parliament that says that if ever there’s a future occasion when laws are being proposed to pass power from Westminster to Brussels there would be a guarantee of a referendum held in our country.”
Nick Clegg said: “How on earth does it help anyone in Bristol, or anyone else in the country for that matter, David Cameron, to join together in the European Union with a bunch of nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists, homophobes? That doesn’t help Britain. Of course we need to change the European Union, but you change clubs of which you are a member by getting stuck in, not standing on the sidelines and complaining about things.”
After the verbal electoral fisticuffs, what place in the Conservatives’ and Libdems’ political briefcase is there for Europe?
Marco Incerti, with the Centre for European Policy Studies said: “We know that European issues are the ones which are the most divisive potentially. the two parties have conflicting views. so they will probably try to push them aside to focus on other important business that they have on their plate, like reducing the deficit, dealing with tax reforms, dealing with banking reform and so on. In the policy document that they have just produced, the EU only comes in ninth in the list of priorities”.
A Labour party member in the European Parliament shares a thought for what effect deferred matters might have eventually.
Derek Vaughan, MEP, Labour party, said: “Just before the coalition was formed, William Hague, the new Foreign Secretary, wrote a memo to the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, laid out how eurosceptic they are going to be and how they are going to give the EU a hard time, and how they wish to repatriate some legislation, including social legislation, and I just wonder how the LibDems will react to that.”
New Foreign Secretary William Hague has downplayed concern for the UK’s workings with the EU. He has said it was not hard for the Conservatives and Libdems to agree not to transfer any further sovereignty to Europe.