Voting for Ukip in European elections could damage economic recovery, warns Nick Clegg
The Deputy PM says that 'the Liberal Democrats are Britain's Party of In' when it comes to the EU
Tuesday 31 December 2013
Nick Clegg has warned that voting for Ukip at the European Parliament elections in May could jeopardise Britain's economic recovery and put jobs at risk, declaring the Liberal Democrats are the only party truly committed to the EU.
The Deputy Prime Minister used his New Year message to deliver a boldly pro-EU speech — describing the Lib Dems as “the Party of In” and laying down a direct challenge to Ukip and Eurosceptic Conservatives.
Nigel Farage's party has consistently outscored the Lib Dems in recent opinion polls and is tipped to perform strongly - and perhaps even win - in May's elections.
Mr Clegg is opposed to his Conservative coalition colleague David Cameron's promise of an in/out referendum by 2017 and he accuses Labour of failing to make the case for continued membership sufficiently strongly.
“Ukip want out. The Conservatives are flirting with exit. And Labour just don't have the courage of their convictions on this,” he said.
“All three would put narrow political interests ahead of the national economic interest.
"So, in a few months, I'm going to ask you to make a different choice. The Liberal Democrats are Britain's Party of In.
“Not because we're in love with the EU, or we think it's perfect but because being in Europe means jobs, trade and prosperity.”
Mr Clegg said the UK's biggest firms calculated membership was worth £3,000 per household per year.
“So in May, be for 'in',” he declared. “Don't wait for a referendum. Don't wait for the general election. Make your voice heard now.
"Once Britain finds itself with one foot out the door we won't just be able to turn back. So don't take that risk. Don't let anyone jeopardise our recovery. This year let's keep Britain in Europe, in work; no shocks or surprises, just better times ahead."
He has appointed former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore as his adviser on European business as part of the campaign to promote the pro-EU case.
Mr Clegg sought to play down expectations for the coming year - suggesting that what the UK needed was "a year of stability rather than surprises" to "lock in" economic recovery.
Mocking the "exciting breathless predictions" of party leaders' New Year messages in the past, he said: "Not this year. Not from me.
“After a long period of drama and upheaval in the economy, how about a year of stability rather than surprises? More steady as she goes, than spectacular highs and lows. Finally there's light at the end of the tunnel.
"The economy's growing, businesses are hiring, 30 million people are now in work - that's a record high. So how about we make 2014 about one thing and one thing only: locking in our recovery.
“The people of Britain have already sacrificed an extraordinary amount.”
For all the efforts the Government was making to help people with the squeeze on household budgets, “ultimately, we'll only take the pressure off for good by building a stronger economy, paying down Labour's deficit, investing in the things that drive growth, schools, roads, railways”, he said.
“And by building a fairer society, where everyone can get on in life, through fairer taxes, more jobs, more help for parents balancing work and home. And by sticking to our plan we'll do both. There is a potential threat to all this.”
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...