Eurosceptic Tories have 'fantastical idea of UK’s future outside EU'

Pro-European Conservatives launch fightback against Eurosceptics

Pro-European Conservatives have launched a fightback  against the Eurosceptics who dominate their party, accusing them of peddling a “fantasy” vision of a prosperous Britain outside the EU.

Ministers who support Britain’s continued membership of the 27-nation bloc are alarmed that Cabinet members including Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, and Owen Paterson,  the Environment Secretary, have raised the prospect of enjoying close trade links with the EU after leaving the club.

Damian Green, the Policing Minister and a leading Tory moderate, warned last night that the UK would lose job-creating investment  by countries like China and India it if quit the EU and would not be able to negotiate good trade  deals for  British companies.

In a speech to the Bright Blue group of Tory modernisers, he said: “There is a fantastic vision of an EU which remains a single market, including the UK, but which in all other respects allows the UK to be outside. This is a fantastic vision precisely because it is a fantasy.”

Mr Green  concluded: “The EU is imperfect, irritating, and needs to change badly. There are a number of areas where this Government is fighting to achieve this change. Staying in and fighting is the best way to meet our economic needs.”

At a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels starting tomorrow,  David Cameron will approve a  road map  for greater integration inside the 17-strong eurozone in the hope that it helps to resolve its long-running crisis.  It would give the European Commission greater influence over national budgets and create a separate “euro area budget”, and could require a new EU treaty by 2014.

The talks on “fiscal and economic union”  would give Mr Cameron the opportunity to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership,  as the new treaty would need approval by all 27 members.

The Prime Minister has delayed a long-awaited speech on the UK’s relationship with Europe until  the new year because of other commitments next week. He is expected to use it to promise Tory Eurosceptics a referendum on the outcome of the treaty negotiations, but not until after the 2015 general election.

Mr Cameron insists that he supports the UK  remaining in the EU but does not support the status quo. His referendum pledge may not satisfy Tory Europhobes demanding a simple “in or out” vote.  Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme last night that the  “Europe question” was “do you want to be in it, or not?”

At tomorrow's summit, the Prime Minister will warn that plans for a banking union inside the eurozone should not undermine the City of London. He is worried that the 17 euro nations will vote as a bloc on the European Banking Authority, which sets the rules for banks across the EU.  The dispute is seen as the first test of how the 10 non-euro members including Britain will preserve the single market when the 17 in the eurozone forge closer links.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Romelu Lukaku scored twice to add to the hat-trick he registered in the first leg in Switzerland
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Recruitment Genius: Print / Warehouse Operative

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower