Clegg slams EU vote, polls show boost for PM

LONDON Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:49pm GMT

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in this photograph provided by the BBC, in London January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in this photograph provided by the BBC, in London January 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - Nick Clegg, leader of the junior party in the ruling coalition, denounced David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on quitting the European Union, as polls on Sunday indicated the prime minister's move may gain him votes.

"It is not in the national interest when we have this fragile recovery," said Clegg, whose Lib Dems strongly favour closer EU ties, in contrast to many members of Cameron's Conservative party. "I don't think it helps at all."

He dismissed as "implausible" Cameron's plan to take back powers from Brussels before a referendum on a new treaty by 2017 that would let voters take Britain out. EU leaders have shown little wish to grant Cameron concessions and Clegg said EU talks would distract ministers from efforts to revive the economy.

Cameron, he told the BBC, would damage economic growth if he spent "years flying around from one European capital to the next, fiddling around with the terms of Britain's membership".

The Lib Dems are languishing in the polls and are unlikely to leave the coalition before an election in 2015, but the EU issue has added to strains. Cameron, who says he wants Britain to stay in the EU, last week promised a referendum if he is re-elected. It is less clear what may happen if treaties remain unchanged.

The first opinion polls published since he made his pledge of an "in-out" vote, however, showed that the prime minister may be succeeding in reversing a drift from the Conservatives to a party which campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union.

A Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, which showed Labour unchanged and in the lead on 38 percent, put the Conservatives on 31 percent, up two points, while the UK Independence Party was down by the same margin, on 14 percent. UKIP's surge from just 3 percent in the 2010 election has raised the prospect of a split on the right that could condemn Cameron to defeat.

Another poll, by ComRes in the Independent on Sunday, showed an even more marked "Brussels bounce" for the prime minister, with the Conservatives gaining five points from last month to 33 percent and UKIP losing four points to be on 10 percent. Again, ComRes put Labour in the lead, down a point on 39 percent.

Cameron's European move worries the United States and EU allies, which want Britain to stay in the bloc. Many business leaders say it creates dangerous uncertainty.

Many Conservatives, whose party toppled previous premiers over European policy, welcomed a referendum after 2015. However, without improvement in an economy which shrank by 0.3 percent in the last quarter, Cameron's re-election is far from certain.

(Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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Comments (2)
DR9WX wrote:
It is not in the national interest when we have this fragile recovery,” said Clegg, whose Lib Dems strongly favour closer EU ties, in contrast to many members of Cameron’s Conservative party. “I don’t think it helps at all.”

We need a Leader to lead. To do what is necessary. To tell us why he believes it is necessary. To tell us what he is doing, what he is going to do and why.

‘I don’t think it helps at all’, is not a sentence a Leader would use when discussing such an important topic.

If we are net contributors to the EU then Clegg makes no sense. Is he saying if we left the EU they wouldn’t sell us stuff and wouldn’t buy our stuff? Surely, that would be up to the people of the EU and not the Governments of the EU. Or are we so far down this path that it no longer matters what the public think!

He also states that we are in a fragile recovery. I state that we are not in a recovery at all. The Worlds GDP must increase at 2-3% to keep the financial system healthy. I could go on for days about GDP, what it is, what we need and why. Inflation and CPI, bank bail outs and the like. Clegg just says ‘I don’t think it helps’. What a Clown!

At 3%, world GDP has to double every 24 years. Is this sustainable!

This and many more things I know and Clegg doesn’t. I ought to be enraged. The man is a fool and talks nonsense. I am furious.

As he is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats I can only believe that they are a complete and utter waste of time.

Watching Milliband on Prime Mimisters questions leads me to the same conclusions.

Unreal, these clowns have turned me into a conservative. I am now beside myself with laughter. Unreal. I shall call these clowns Clag and Millipede. It’s more than they deserve.

All I can say now is ‘Come on Cameron. Game on Cameron.’. Sleep well all. Even the muppets and idiots I have listed above.

Jan 27, 2013 9:02pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Clegg’s blatant prospecting for a Commission job just makes me wanna hurl!

In between his post 2015 application for European Commissioner for the expansion of Wind and its farms, could he please point to any part of European economic ‘core’ that is showing a pulse at present times?

Jan 27, 2013 11:40pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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