As cracks appear in the UK’s coalition government, Prime Minister David Cameron addresses parliament today to explain his actions over Europe.
While the Euro-sceptics within the Conservative Party are likely to give Cameron a warm reception, the premier faces a backlash from his Liberal Democrat allies.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has already criticised Cameron’s move to block European Treaty changes as “bad for Britain” and his party is angry.
Paddy Ashdown, former Liberal Democrat leader, said: “So we will work with the government, but the Euro-sceptics ought to realise very clearly that we will not work with them, we will oppose them every step of the way, and if the government were stupid enough to give in to them, then the consequences of that would indeed be very grave.”
At Friday’s EU summit, Britain vetoed a plan for closer fiscal integration saying it would expose London’s powerful financial services industry to unwelcome regulation.
The veto angered France and Germany but failed to stop most of the 26 EU countries from going ahead, leaving Britain out in the cold.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Sunday backlash against David Cameron stems from a variety of reasons, according to our London Correspondent, Ali Sheikholeslami. Mr Clegg has been under growing pressure from all ranks in his party, the europhile Liberal Democrats who have felt that since the formation of the coalition government 19 months ago they have given away too much of what they stand for. The junior coalition partner was not able to stop a move by Tories to hike university tuition fees threefold, for which they have lost a lot of grass-roots backing and been accused of betraying their young supporters.
The decision had a dividing effect within the Conservative party. As much as it may have been a reason to celebrate for Eurosceptic lawmakers such as John Redwood, who has already asked Cameron to start “renegotiating a new relationship with the EU”, the Guardian newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying that the Conservative, pro-EU Justice Minister Ken Clarke may also consider resigning over his boss’s stance.
These inter and intra-party divisions aside, for now both sides say the coalition will survive and the rift between the Prime Minister and his deputy is only an aftershock.