DAVID Cameron has denied his dramatic decision to veto treaty changes designed to save the single currency has paved the way for Britain to withdraw from the European Union.
The Prime Minister insisted last night that Britain’s influence in Europe will be maintained, despite his veto – the first to be wielded by a British PM to block a treaty in European history.
Britain now stands isolated after all the other 26 EU states at a crucial summit in Brussels indicated they will sign up to a separate agreement to impose new fiscal discipline on the eurozone.
The agreement cheered markets yesterday with the FTSE finishing up on the previous days trading but the decision by the Prime Minister to withdraw from negotiations raised serious questions about Britain’s future in Europe.
Labour leader Ed Miliband accused him of “mishandling negotiations spectacularly” and warned Britain would no longer have a seat at the table when vital economic decisions affecting the country are made.
Meanwhile one senior Spanish MP said yesterday marked the day Britain left the EU.
But speaking in Brussels at the end of the dramatic two-day summit, Mr Cameron denied the charge, insisting: “Britain’s influence in the EU will be maintained.” He added: “Of course this does represent a change in our relationship. But the core of the relationship – the single market, the trade and the investment, the growth, the jobs that we want to see – that remains as it was.”
On British withdrawal or a referendum on EU membership, the Prime Minister added: “Membership is in our interests and I’ve always said if that’s the case I’ll support our membership. Membership of the European Union is good for us.”
Mr Cameron insisted he had followed a “combined position” agreed by Tories and Lib Dems and “cleared absolutely between me and Nick Clegg”.
Cameron left isolated: Page 4. Comment: Page 14