Ken Clarke: Britain needs to stop its 'nervous breakdown' over EU

The old Tory beast has piped up in defence of the EU, saying that it would be an economic 'disaster' for the UK to leave the union.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

The minister without portfolio – whatever that means – said that talk of Britain leaving the EU is ‘damaging our influence’ as a country, and said that he doesn’t believe David Cameron is trying to pull out of the union. 

Speaking on BBC’s Today Programme on Radio 4, he said: ‘We are going through a very curious stage in the national debate. In the last 20 years, the country gets near to having a nervous breakdown on the subject every now and again. David Cameron assures the public, he’s always assured me, that he believes, as I do, that Britain’s place in the modern world has got to be in the EU.’

He added: ‘It would be a disaster for our influence in global political events. It would be a disaster for the British economy if we were to leave the EU. It damages our influence in these great critical events of the moment if we keep casting doubt on our continued membership.’

Ken Clarke has long been an arch EU-supporter, but did concede that the PM’s pledge to achieve a freeze in the EU budget would constitute ‘a good starting point’ for the next round of negotiations in Brussels.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming Events

Latest on MT

The reason women are less likely to get graduate jobs

The reason women are less likely to get graduate jobs

Despite the high priority employers give to diversity, the gender gap in graduate recruitment persists.

Why Philip Green's savaged reputation matters

Why Philip Green's savaged reputation matters

The retail tycoon is still rolling in wealth but his public image could be problematic - and what about that knighthood?

Only 'radical honesty' can rebuild trust in business, and save us from Green and Trump

Only 'radical honesty' can rebuild trust in business, and save us from Green and Trump

Philip Green and Donald Trump are harbingers of a post-trust future that can only be avoided by a progressive revolution in business leadership.

'Don't be governed by risk' - Pitcher & Piano founder Crispin Tweddell's start-up cocktail

'Don't be governed by risk' - Pitcher & Piano founder Crispin Tweddell's start-up cocktail

The entrepreneur-turned-investor shares his recipe for success - know your customer and be ready to take a chance.

How Mike Ashley can fix Sports Direct's reputation

How Mike Ashley can fix Sports Direct's reputation

His company's name has been well and truly sullied, but Mike Ashley still has the chance to reform it, through transparency.

Get ready for the 'Lego' organization

Get ready for the 'Lego' organization

In a rapidly changing world, businesses will become amalgams of building blocks that come together for specific purposes.