DAVID Cameron has been accused of ‘confusion and naivety’ by MEPs after his speech on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.
Speaking in London on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and Witney MP said he wanted to see reform of the EU, and planned to hold an in/out referendum on the issue of membership.
He also said he wanted Britain to remain in the EU when he was pressed for a yes or no answer on the subject by Labour leader Ed Miliband during Prime Ministers’ Questions.
The speech sparked a mixed reaction from the South East’s MEPs.
Oxford-based Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder said: “David Cameron’s speech was plagued with confusion. Confusion over who it was aimed at and confusion over what he really wants to achieve.
“His increasingly desperate pledge to push for a positive vision for the EU is at odds with his attempt to appease chunks of his own party.
“Mr Cameron has doffed his cap to the right wing nationalists in the Tory party, whose real agenda is an immediate exit, and simultaneously put British growth, jobs and investment at risk.
“He pledges to work with the EU to fight terrorism and crime, then decides he wants to repatriate justice powers from Brussels. Businesses are confused, our EU partners are confused and, no doubt, the voter is confused.”
UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen said: “He made a great speech but he obviously doesn’t know Brussels. Mr Cameron fundamentally fails to understand the federal EU freight train.
“Whilst flexibility sounds great and was probably dreamed up by the Prime Minister whilst sitting in his slippers in Chequers, there is a different reality in Brussels. I can assure the Prime Minister that there is no such thing as flexibility when it comes to the EU’s objective: a deeper federal Europe where member states’ sovereignty becomes an anachronism. His speech therefore was naive. The train is on a one-way track.”
Green MEP Keith Taylor, wants continued membership of the EU, but supports plans for a referendum and reform.
He said: “The fight for a radically reformed European Union is now on. I will be campaigning strongly for the UK to remain part of the EU but absolutely against business as usual.”
He added: “Over the coming weeks, months and years I’ll be making a case for Britain’s continued membership of a radically reformed, truly democratic European Union that improves the lives of people in the UK and the continent.”
The Oxford Mail also contacted MEPs Nigel Farage (UKIP), Sharon Bowles (Lib Dem), Peter Skinner (Labour) and James Elles (Conservative), but received no response.