Belfast Telegraph

PM commended for wielding veto

The Prime Minister has been commended for "sticking to his word and wielding the veto" amid the continuing fallout between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats over his historic move on Europe.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told fellow ministers of the need for "constructive re-engagement with Europe" after David Cameron's actions at last week's European Council summit in Brussels, which the Lib Dem leader denounced over the weekend as "bad for Britain".

Opening a Democratic Unionist Party Commons debate on the UK's relationship with the European Union, DUP Parliamentary Group leader Nigel Dodds hailed the Prime Minister's decision.

He said: "Yesterday (Monday) in the House, the Prime Minister referred to a period of great change in Europe and there is a sense arising out of the European Council this weekend that something very significant has happened in terms of the UK and our relationship with the EU.

"A taboo has been broken. For the first time in living memory, a Prime Minister of the UK has gone to an EU summit, not only prepared to say no, but in the event actually used the veto when it became necessary in our national interest.

"And I want to commend the Prime Minister for sticking to his word and wielding the veto in the circumstances that he said he would in this House last week."

Mr Dodds characterised the events as "potentially a watershed moment in British politics". He added: "It's not something I have to say regretfully that we have come to expect from British Governments. We have been more used to Government ministers going to crucial EU meetings in recent years and coming back having to explain why the latest EU regulation or measure is being implemented, despite the implications for our own national interests.

"But it's very clear that what the Prime Minister has done, has gained support from people in the country right across the political spectrum."

The DUP motion states: "That this House commends the Prime Minister on his refusal at the European Council to sign up to a Treaty without safeguards for the UK; regards the use of the veto in appropriate circumstances to be a vital means of defending the national interests of the UK; and recognises the desire of the British people for a rebalancing of the relationship with our European neighbours based on co-operation and mutually beneficial economic arrangements."

At the start of the debate there was only one Lib Dem MP in the Chamber.

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