David Cameron has pledged Britain will remain a “full and very influential” member of the European Union, despite his veto on the treaty change. The UK prime minister said he had done the right thing for Britain.
“I think it’s right for Britain to say which bits of Europe most benefit us as a nation and to focus on those things. I’m not frightened of the fact that sometimes you might not be included in something. Are we better off outside the euro? You bet we are!”
Membership of the EU has caused huge rifts in Cameron’s Conservative Party in the past.
After the latest events eurosceptic Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin said its time for a change: “Now that the euro states are saying ‘we’re going ahead anyway, we don’t care what the British think,’ we are in a very different European Union. The European Union has changed, it’s time to change our terms of membership.”
However, Cameron’s more pro-European coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, said the government will maintain close ties with Europe.
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Both sides of the coalition accept, absolutely fundamentally, that our future lies in our very close relationship with Europe. We’re members of the Single Market, it’s going to stay that way, hundreds of thousands of British jobs, in all sectors of the economy, all parts of the country, depend on the Single Market.”
But opposition Labour Party politicians in the UK attacked Cameron’s position, saying it is a sign of weakness not of strength, that Britain is now more isolated than at any point in the 35 years of its membership of Europe.