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Tories are uneasy on plan to aid Ireland

The Chancellor has faced calls from within his own party not to bail out Ireland.

George Osborne said on Wednesday that the Treasury was considering all options for financial aid to Ireland, but refused to say whether help would amount to bilateral loans or contributions to an EU bailout package.

He described Ireland as Britain's “closest neighbour”, and said it was in the UK's “national interest” that the Irish economy is successful and its banking system stable.

But during questions on future Commons business yesterday, Conservative MPs told Commons leader Sir George Young that British taxpayers must not pay for an Irish bailout.

Senior Tory MP Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) and Eurosceptic Conservative Peter Bone (Wellingborough) said the matter needed to be debated urgently by MPs.

Mr Leigh said: “The British people want to be assured at a time when very painful cuts are being made here that good money is not being thrown after bad in driving the Irish further into the sclerotic arms of the euro which caused the problems in the first place.”

Mark Reckless was also critical of the Chancellor's decision to offer financial assistance.

He told Sir George: “Surely the message from this House to those (Irish) politicians must be that we will not vote a penny to bail out their euro.”

Sir George said he expected the Chancellor to keep MPs informed of any decisions he makes.

He added: “This country does have an interest in a stable and prosperous Ireland and we stand ready to do whatever we can to secure that objective.”

Sir George said he would pass on MPs' requests for an emergency debate to Mr Osborne.

So far the Irish government has rejected bailout offers from other EU member states.

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