EU Council

- Monday, 2nd July 2012

 

Peter Lilley MP Speaking

The Prime Minister (David Cameron): As I said, I want to stay in the European Union for the reasons I have given. But I will always stand up for the British national interest as I see it. That is the job of being Prime Minister.

 

Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): My right hon. Friend will know that my opposition to excessive centralisation of power in Europe has never been in doubt. Indeed, the only doubt that my Euroscepticism has given rise to was that which John Major cast upon my paternity. Will the Prime Minister, none the less, agree that what we need is not a commitment to an in/out referendum, but a commitment to insisting that our partners give us back powers to govern ourselves if they want our agreement for them to subordinate themselves further to centralisation in Europe?

 

The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend, whose parentage I have never questioned, nor would I ever do so, puts it very well. The fact is that Europe is changing very rapidly. The eurozone countries, in my view, are going to need to take some pretty bold integrationist steps. That will provide opportunities and openings for countries outside the eurozone, such as Britain, and we should maximise those opportunities to pursue our national interest. I firmly believe that that means remaining at the table for those things that really matter for us, but I think that is what we should do.

 

 

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