FOREIGN AFFAIRS – EUROPEAN UNION – 13 December 2011

Dr Julian Lewis: The right hon. Gentleman [Nigel Dodds] is being extraordinarily generous in giving way. To support what he has just said, does he remember Romano Prodi, then President of the European Commission, on that fateful New Year's eve when the euro was brought into effect, being asked, “This is a political project, isn't it?” and his replying, “It is an entirely political project”? Is that not the reason why those people are so desperate to continue with it, even though it is leading to economic disaster?

[Mr Dodds: Absolutely. The hon. Gentleman is right to remind the House of Prodi's words at that time, of the fact that the nature of the project is explicit, and of what lies behind it. ...]

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Dr Lewis: I much admire the hon. Lady's [Emma Reynolds's] verve and style, but everything that she says points to the conclusion that, given a choice between the only two options – to sign or not to sign – she would have signed. Is that conclusion right or wrong?

[Emma Reynolds: I point out to the hon. Gentleman that nothing was signed at the European summit and negotiations are ongoing. A likely text might appear at the March European summit, but a text is not yet on the table. Yes, we would have stayed in the negotiations, because it is not in the national interest for decisions to proceed without us. ...]

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Dr Lewis: Before the hon. Gentleman [Martin Horwood] sits down, can he tell us whether his party will vote for the motion, against the motion, in both Lobbies or not at all?

[Mr Horwood: Any Liberal Democrat who votes for the Democratic Unionist party motion tonight will do so extremely reluctantly, that is all I have to say.

It is a shame to try to snatch division from the jaws of unity, however, because I was finishing on a positive note. Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should unite on a reform agenda in Europe which does not necessarily require treaty change but will, I hope, be supported by other countries. Then we can build alliances and go forward positively, with the like-minded countries of Europe putting forward a positive and good plan for British jobs and British prosperity, for European jobs and European prosperity.]