• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blair slaps down Brown over EU summit

Lots of media interest this morning in the negotiations on the new EU treaty. The Independent has said that Tony Blair should step down immediately and that Gordon Brown should attend the crucial summit in June. The Times argued:

"The danger is that Mr Blair will sign Britain up to a treaty that is too integrationist and that Mr Brown, blaming his predecessor, will then try to avoid holding a referendum... The Chancellor must immerse himself in the detail of the proposed treaty and accompany Mr Blair to the Brussels summit. He must not allow the Prime Minister to sign anything that he would not be prepared to defend.”

But according to a written answer given to Lord Leach this morning Brown will not be allowed to attend. Lord Treisman said:

"My right honourable friend the Prime Minister will lead the UK delegation at the European Council meeting on 22 and 23 June. The delegation will include my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary".

Blair's insistence that it will be him - not Brown - that will sign the deal on the new EU treaty is giving the Treasury jitters. According to the Mail Ed Balls a Brownite ally said,“We aren't being told what they are up to. It is very secretive. Our worry is that in an attempt to pull off a coup they will give away too much and damage Gordon".

According to PA, backbench Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay called this morning for Blair to let Brown go instead:

"It is not in the interests of the UK that somebody who is retiring should commit the country. It's simply wrong that the man who is going to have to deal with the consequences of the EU summit isn't the one who is going to be calling the shots. The UK would be substantially disadvantaged.”

But the PM's not for turning. His spokesman said this morning that Blair would represent both the country and the Government at the EU summit, and that the Government's position in Brussels would be based on normal discussions with ministers - including Mr Brown - ahead of the talks.

"He has been heavily involved in preparations for that EU summit and therefore it makes entire sense for him to be the one there. There are major issues still to be finalised within the coming period and that's what the Prime Minister will do."

No comments: