UK’s eurosceptic media welcomes PM David Cameron home as a hero
Great Britain’s eurosceptic press welcomed their prime minister David Cameron back to the UK on Friday as a hero for his decision not to agree to measures of his other 26 European Union counterparts.
But not all Britons think his veto, based largely on decisions he believed would harm London’s City financial district, had done the UK a favour.
Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Europe-friendly Liberal Democrat party, part of Britain’s ruling coalition, said: “It is not in our interest to be negative about Europe, we have to be sure we do not lose friends in Europe. Europe trades with us for half our trade, and produce the wealth for 10% of our jobs. This is not the beginning of us pulling out of Europe.”
Hughes added the British press, much of which applauded Cameron’s decision, was “often terribly eurosceptic, nationalistic and jingoistic”.
The right-leaning Telegraph, though, said Cameron was in “splendid isolation”, and made a decision that was “decisive to distance Britain from the EU”.
The paper said Cameron’s decision “provoked widespread anger among European leaders”, but “delighted Tories and raised questions about Britain’s future in the EU.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel had said: “I really don’t believe David Cameron was ever with us at the table.”
New Italian prime minister Mario Monti said Cameron’s decision would lead to “a certain isolation” of Britain.
Sharon Bowles, Liberal Democrat MEP, said more bluntly: “The way in which the UK is isolated now is very damaging. We played, we lost, and now we are worse off.”
But London mayor Boris Johnson, told the British media Cameron had “played a blinder” in Brussels. “David Cameron has done very, very well to assert Britain’s interests, to defend London and British industry and to put a line in the sand.”
Eurosceptic MP Bernard Jenkin said: “This is the moment when we have to start completely renegotiating our relationship.”
Cameron invited Conservative party members to dinner on Friday at his country home, Chequers, where they reportedly celebrated his veto.
He told the eurosceptic Daily Mail: “There was a treaty on the table, it didn’t adequately protect Britain’s interests. Instead of going along with it, I said no to it. I thought that’s my job.”
Despite this apparent snub to his European counterparts, he insisted EU membership was “in our interests. Britain is in the European Union because it is good for British jobs, for British investment, for British trade. We are a trading nation, we need those markets.”
But Great Britain’s newspapers disagreed.