Ken Clarke joins forces with Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson to warn against EU exit

The intervention came as the cross-party British Influence group launches a manifesto titled Better off in a Better Europe

Ken Clarke has joined forces with Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander and Labour's Lord Mandelson to warn that leaving the EU would be an “historical error”.

The politicians insisted the UK should work to reform the organisation from within rather than walking away, with their intervention following the launch of a manifesto titled Better off in a Better Europe by the cross-party British Influence group.

After David Cameron pledged an in-out referendum on membership by 2017, the document warns against threatening "unilateral repatriation of powers".

But it also concedes that the EU must be "rebooted for the 21st century" and Treaty change is "inevitable", arguing that control should be returned to member states in some areas.

Mr Clarke, regarded as the sole Conservative europhile in the Cabinet, said: "This is a compelling and practical manifesto for a reformed Europe focused on growth and competitiveness. David Cameron has already shown what can be achieved in Europe through strong, determined leadership.

"This document brings out the huge further rewards the British can reap by remaining doggedly engaged in Europe, and determined to help set the agenda.

"We earn our living in a globalised economy and a world in which nations are interdependent in tackling global and regional problems.

"We can help to promote our own interests best by reinforcing our role as a leading nation in the EU."

Treasury minister Mr Alexander said the EU was "one of the central pillars of British prosperity and security".

"Membership of the EU gives market access to British firms, makes us more attractive to overseas investors, and underpins more than three million British jobs.

"EU trade deals with the US, India, Canada and Japan will be worth billions to the UK economy but could not be won by the UK alone."

"Britain must work with our allies for change from within to ensure the EU continues to take reform seriously.

"The isolationists are reckless with our prosperity and security. We cannot let them succeed."

Former business secretary Lord Mandelson said: "If Britain quit the EU amongst the losers would be businesses foregoing trade and investment opportunities, their employees whose jobs and workplace rights would be at risk, the police and security agencies who would sacrifice vital collaboration and the British people who would lose the freedom to travel, live and work as they wish across Europe.

"In return we would get the dubious satisfaction of standing alone in the world."

The manifesto states: "By creating alliances with those who share our belief in boosting growth and jobs, we can actively reboot the EU for the 21st century and project our economic and political reform agenda in and through Europe to the wider world.

"It would be a historical error to abandon this task now, just when Britain's clout is more than ever needed.

"At the same time, it should be recognised by EU leaders that the time of an 'ever closer union' in every possible policy area lies in the past."

The document calls for the EU to become "leaner and meaner", saying it must "focus only on essential tasks and not be diverted, do better in getting value from its budget and eliminate fraud and be more transparent with its decision making processes which often appear opaque and distant from voters".

At the same time the Houses of Parliament has to "radically improve" its oversight of Europe.

"Britain should lead the EU reform campaign from within, not threaten unilateral repatriation of powers. A number of areas should better be left to member states rather than the EU," the manifesto said. "The UK's Review of the Balance of Competences should be used as a factual backdrop to push for change in the EU for all its members and not just a special deal for Britain.

"Much can change in the EU without changing the treaties and there are lots of reforms we can be getting on with along with partners in Europe.

"But at some point Treaty change will also be inevitable."

Additional reporting Press Association

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices