UK veto largely political: Cable
Published 18/12/2011 | 03:02
David Cameron's decision to veto a new EU treaty was a "largely political" move that did nothing to protect the City of London or resolve Europe's long-term problems, Vince Cable said.
Coalition tensions over Europe were further exposed after an opinion poll suggested the snub had gone down well with voters - the Tories gaining two to take a six-point lead over Labour.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg accused eurosceptics predicting a collapse of the eurozone "with glee" of risking millions of British jobs and insisted the Government was united.
But he also laid into a cherished Tory policy - tax breaks for married couples - in an apparent bid to reassert Lib Dem influence within the power-sharing deal with the Conservatives.
As the fallout from the veto convulsed the coalition last week, Mr Clegg and his MPs abstained en masse rather than support a Commons motion praising Mr Cameron's stance.
Mr Cable agreed during an interview for BBC1's Andrew Marr that the veto was "a piece of Conservative Party politics...which hasn't won this country anything".
"It was largely political, certainly the Prime Minister has got a short-term boost from it, but it doesn't actually deal with the big long-term fundamental problems in Europe," he said.
It was vital for the UK to "get back on track" of working with EU partners, he said, warning any doubts over its place in Europe would put off foreign investors.
Mr Clegg, who has expressed his bitter disappointment with the outcome of the summit, took a fresh swipe at eurosceptics predicting failure of efforts to rescue the single currency.
He spoke out shortly after London Mayor Boris Johnson said European leaders should abandon their "hysterical" response and accept some countries would have to drop out.