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PM under pressure ahead of EU talks

David Cameron is under intense pressure from his own party over Britain's relations with Europe on the eve of a crucial summit intended to find a solution to the crisis in the single currency.

London Mayor Boris Johnson urged the Prime Minister to call a referendum - or even wield his veto - on any EU-wide treaty that sets the 17 single currency states on the path to fiscal union.

And eurosceptic Cabinet minister Owen Paterson broke ranks to say that a referendum will be the "inevitable" result of moves to forge a closer bloc of eurozone states within the EU.

In the House of Commons, Mr Cameron faced demands from his own backbenchers to use tomorrow's summit to renegotiate the UK's EU membership or block eurozone fiscal union, which veteran Tory Sir Peter Tapsell warned would "pose a great threat to the whole of the liberty of Europe".

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell urged the Prime Minister to show "bulldog spirit" in the talks between the 27 EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Mr Cameron responded: "That is exactly what I will do. The British national interest absolutely means that we need to help resolve this crisis in the eurozone. It is freezing the British economy just as it is freezing economies right across Europe."

The Prime Minister insisted he will not sign a treaty unless it includes provisions to protect the City of London and the European single market. "We will insist on safeguards for Britain," he said. "That means making sure we are stronger and better able to do things in the UK to protect our national interests. The more the countries of the eurozone ask for, the more we will ask for in return."

But Downing Street made clear that he sees no argument for a referendum in the UK on the treaty changes needed to tighten economic governance in the eurozone.

Mr Johnson - a fierce opponent of fiscal union - said that efforts to preserve the single currency in its current form risked "saving the cancer and not the patient", telling BBC Radio 4's World at One: "It is absolutely clear to me that if there is a new treaty at 27, if there is a new EU treaty that creates a kind of fiscal union within the 27 countries or within the eurozone, we'd have absolutely no choice either to veto it but certainly to put it to a referendum.

"If they are going to go down that route to fiscal union then certainly I think, frankly, it's the wrong way to go and I think we should be opposing it."


From Belfast Telegraph