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Lord Paddy Ashdown blasts 'little England' Conservatives over EU referendum plan

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Lord Ashdown warns of the folly of out-of-EU philosophy

Comments (6)

Former Yeovil MP Lord Paddy Ashdown has labelled the Conservatives a “party of little Englanders” that has set Britain on course to leave the EU.

The former Liberal Democrat leader attacked David Cameron in a House of Lords debate and his plan for an in-or-out referendum on EU membership in 2018.

He said there was now a “virulent little Englander” movement running through the Conservative Party, adding: “They don’t want to re-negotiate Europe, they want out altogether.”

Lord Ashdown said it did not matter what Mr Cameron brought back from his attempts to renegotiate Britain’s role in Europe. “They will reject it,” he said.

He told peers: “The difference between Britain and the rest is that we are negotiating wanting to get out, while the rest of them are negotiating wanting to get further in.”

Accusing the Prime Minister of damaging investment and giving “huge stimulus” to Scottish independence, Lord Ashdown said: “He will have set Britain on a path, intentionally or not, when he returns with too little and has to recommend no in a referendum, that takes this country out of Europe.

“That would be devastatingly damaging. This country’s interests have never lain outside Europe. But the Conservative party now, a party of little Englanders, has taken us away from that. This is folly.”

Lord Ashdown said the Prime Minister’s speech was about “politics and nothing else”.

It was directed only to the Conservative party in a bid to put a “sticking plaster over the gaping and bloody wound” that ran deep over Europe.

Lord Ashdown’s remarks were dismissed by Downing Street officials but campaigners for a British exit were hoping that his prediction comes true.

Tim Aker, of the Get Britain Out campaign, said: “Paddy Ashdown has said what we’ve known all along. It will be impossible for Cameron to negotiate looser ties.

“To get his flexible arrangement, the UK will have to leave political union and negotiate a simple free-trade agreement. Renegotiation in the EU is a waste of time, especially when EU leaders refuse to budge on their plans for ever closer union.

“The Prime Minister should listen to the majority of the British public, who want the in-or-out vote to take place during this parliament.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister set out his views to the public a few days ago.”

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  • nilocsue  |  February 07 2013, 3:42PM

    Paddy Ashdown also predicted, not quite correctly, that we were doomed, doomed, if a. the UK left the ERM b. the UK didn't adopt the euro has long advocated UK ever closer into the EU (towards a Federal States of Europe) whilst the Lib Dems always protested that sovereignty was not an issue. Can't trust the man. Colin McNamee UKIP Somerton & Frome

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  • 2TheBeehive  |  February 06 2013, 8:33PM

    James Goldsmith Referendum Party broadcast evidences the duplicity of people like (Lord) Paddy Ashdown. http://tinyurl.com/b3a3tkv

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 06 2013, 3:37PM

    Dennis Skinner "The Beast of Bolsover" once taunted the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown in Parliament by calling him, "Paddy Backdown" for what Mr. Skinner said was his changing views on politics. (trying to be all things to all men) . . Better known as being 'unprincipled'. Even today Paddy still tries to be all things to all men. . . But I think this time he's got it totally wrong. http://tinyurl.com/3lvlre

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 06 2013, 11:40AM

    ......and another thing Mr.Ashdown.....I am proud to be English, British or whatever else you would like to call us. This country is turning into something akin to Disneyland otherwise known as Euroland, with us as the puppets or should that be muppets. We are turning into a country where we have no control over anything we do, say or think. I despair at all the lives that have been lost, fighting wars with the Germans and others, trying to keep our democracy.

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  • siarad2  |  February 06 2013, 11:07AM

    I voted for the EEC not political union & like a lot was lied to during the voting. Why do we want to be ruled by the EU: We beat Spain & France with Wellington & again Napoleon at Waterloo, not forgetting Nelson, we beat the Kaiser, we beat Hitler, we beat Mussolini. It's not we who are scared of warring neighbours but they, let those distrusting nations huddle together for safety we don't need to we're not scared, we win, not forgetting those who helped us of course. Norway & Switzerland who remained in EFTA (take your pick of letter variations) are far richer than we & Iceland slightly more so.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 06 2013, 10:31AM

    Oh dear Mr. Ashdown, I fear you are starting to lose the plot. It isn't Mr. Cameron or a "virulent little Englander" movement running through the Conservative Party, that want out altogether." Judging by various news reports in national newspapers, where the plebs are allowed to comment, it is quite a good proportion of the population of England that want out. Also, reading various European newspapers, the unrest runs deeper than just in our country. It appears that UKIP is frightening the powers that be in the corrupt EU government and they, (the EU lot), are talking about policing newspapers, for trolls who are willing to air their views on the damaging state of the EU. Well no doubt I will be targeted as a troll in that respect, if only for the fact that we are supposed to live in a democracy (and even that is debatable) and I would like an opportunity to vote in/out. Unfortunately the only drawback that I can see, is, that this vote would be better held within the next year/two years.

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