Former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell has called on David Cameron to put the national interest ahead of his party’s interest as he prepares for his major speech on Europe:
Those who argue for disengagement in whole or even part have a duty to tell us what the consequences would be. So far they have failed to do so. We need to be rational, not emotional. The issue must be about the essential nature of the relationship, not about squashing the ambitions of Ukip. The EU offers the best deal for Britain.The days of unlimited European patience to accommodate the UK have gone. If it were to be finally exhausted, Britain would either have to climb down or leave – the first being disastrous for the PM and the second for the country.
Ming pauses to sympathise with Mr Cameron having to balance the demands of his Europhobic backbenchers against the need to build alliances with neighbours such as Angela Merkel — but his warning is unmistakable:
The middle ground will not satisfy either of them and will alienate both of them. What is the alternative? It is to show commitment, to demonstrate leadership and to take our opportunity. Britain is a top-table member of Nato, the UN, the EU, the Commonwealth and the G8, and the present government has rightly gone out of its way to establish better relations in South America. We stand therefore in a unique global diplomatic position. Detachment from Europe in whole or in part will be seen as opting out of a golden opportunity denied to others. Forced to choose between Bone and Merkel, Cameron should choose the interest of country over party.
You can read Ming Campbell’s article in full at the Guardian here.
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