Ex-PM Major to warn of EU ‘breach’

Published: Thursday 13th November 2014 by The News Editor

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There is a real danger of a “breach” between Britain and the EU if concerns about immigration are not addressed, Sir John Major is due to warn.

Addressing members of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s party in Berlin, the former prime minister will reportedly highlight the danger of Europe “sleepwalking into antagonisms that it cannot repair”.

The rare intervention comes as David Cameron pushes for a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU – including changes to the way freedom of movement operates within the union.

The premier has promised an in-out referendum by 2017 if the Tories are still in power after the general election.

Sir John – viewed as pro-European – will apparently warn that the UK and EU are “close to a breach that’s not in our interests or theirs”. Such a divorce would be “final”, he is to add.

Sir John is expected to stress that Britons are not opposed to the principle of free movement, but caution that the number of migrants currently coming to the country is not sustainable.

In a comment seemingly aimed at Mr Cameron, he will also insist it is time to “tone down the oratory and turn up the diplomacy”.

Labour leader Ed Miliband warned that leaving the EU would be a “disaster” but Mr Cameron was unwilling to take on the eurosceptics in his party.

“I believe in an outward-looking Britain, not an inward-looking Britain. I don’t believe in a Britain that cuts itself off from the rest of the world,” he said.

“I think there’s an incredible contrast in British politics today. Think where the Tory party is – John Major is talking about this today – the Tory party is increasingly a party drifting towards exit from the European Union, that is where the centre of gravity of the Tory party is.

“And you’ve got David Cameron who doesn’t really stand up to that force, he just lets it happen. You’ve got Ukip that explicitly wants to leave the European Union. I think that is a disaster for Britain.”

But Mr Miliband, answering questions following a speech in central London, added: “The only way you can remain an outward-looking country is by building a fairer, more equal, more just society at home.”

Mr Miliband added: “I think John Major’s speech is a pretty damning indictment of David Cameron because you’ve got John Major, who basically believes in Britain remaining in the European Union, saying – in not very coded terms – that the Prime Minister’s strategy is burning alliances and burning bridges and not helping Britain in Europe. And that is completely right.

“We know what threatening exit did – you got a perfect test case around Jean-Claude Juncker where David Cameron lost by 26 votes to two.

“And why did he lose that vote in the way he did? Because anything associated with David Cameron in Europe is toxic.

“They basically think that if David Cameron is supporting it, it’s because of the problems of the Conservative Party rather than the problems of Europe.”

Published: Thursday 13th November 2014 by The News Editor

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