By Michael Northcott Monday, 19 November 2012

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.

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.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Latest from MT

20 QUESTIONS: Rob Law, Trunki

20 QUESTIONS: Rob Law, Trunki

Best known for being summarily rejected by Dragons' Den, Rob Law's company now turns over £7m a year. He tells us why he originally wanted to call Trunki 'Magma', and why he doesn't trust the UK legal system.

 

MT EXPERT: Why 'seeing' your data is the key to understanding it

 

10 things we learned this week

 

The 7 best tech hubs outside London

 

9 epic gadget fails