Anger and delight as Britain distances itself from the heart of Europe
Published 09/12/2011 | 14:53
BRITISH premier David Cameron's move to veto EU treaty change was welcomed as a "very significant" development by eurosceptic Tory MP Mark Reckless who said it should be the start of a new more distant relationship.
But former foreign secretary Lord Owen accused the Prime Minister of leaving the UK "in a mess" that called into question the credibility of the coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Reckless told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The Prime Minister has been as good as his word.
"He said he would not agree to a new treaty unless he was able to safeguard the interests of the City. The other EU countries would not agree to safeguard the interests of the City and therefore David Cameron has said no.
"I think this is a very significant change. All of us will need time to see how the institutions of Europe are going to move forward.
Labour's former foreign secretary David Miliband said Mr Cameron's actions showed "weakness not strength".
In a message on Twitter, Mr Miliband said: "UK jumped into rowing boat with Hungary next to 25 nation supertanker. That is weakness not strength."
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told the BBC:: "I don't glory in Britain's isolation this morning and I regret just how badly David Cameron's negotiating strategy has let Britain down.
"Strip away all the rhetoric and look at the reality: Britain today is more isolated than at any point in the 35 years since we joined the European Community.
"This outcome is a sign not of strength from the Prime Minister but of profound weakness.
And former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the outcome had been "inevitable" but cautioned that there were still very important details of the deal to be thrashed out.