Jonathan Fryer

London’s New Europe House

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 7th December, 2010

I managed to squeeze 20 minutes in at the official opening of the new London offices of the European Commission and European Parliament at 32 Smith Square last night, before having to rush off to chair the Executive of London Liberal Democrats at Cowley Street just a short walk away. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission, had originally been billed to appear, but in fact was detained by business in Brussels, presumably helping save various EU members from bankruptcy, including his native Portugal. However, the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, did attend, despite being urged to stay away by Conservative bloggers such as Jonathan Isaby. Mr Hague — who brought a portrait of Winston Churchill to grace the room in the refurbished building that will be named after the war-time Prime Minister, who spoke up for European union before deciding to distance Britain from the nascent institutions that would eventually become the EU. The fact that William Hague was there is a tribute to the way that the Liberal Democrat partners in the Coalition government in London  have softened the Tories Euro-scepticism. Nonetheless, Mr Hague did have a stern message of belt-tightening for the Eurocrats and MEPs present: ‘Just as this Government is bringing excessive spending under control here in Britain  — control that has required some very difficult decisions — so we look to all EU institutions to join us in effective and rigorous control of spending.’ The irony was not lost on those present that 32 Smith Square used to be the Conservative Party headquarters and is perhaps most famous as being the backdrop for Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 victory celebrations. As one mischievous wag commented, ‘Lady Thatcher would turn in her grave, were she dead.’

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4 Responses to “London’s New Europe House”

  1. Boudicca said

    “The fact that William Hague was there is a tribute to the way that the Liberal Democrat partners in the Coalition government in London have softened the Tories Euro-scepticism”
    ————-

    But not the Euroscepticism of Conservative members. Which is why the Conservatives will be losing a lot of votes and UKIP will be gaining them at the next EU Elections. Ditto at the next British General Election.

    The British are overwhelmingly Eurosceptic. As the Daily Express reports, a recent poll indicates that 59% of the electorate believes the EU has been harmful for Britain; 48% want us to leave the EU and only 27% to stay in.

    It is time the political elite listened to public opinion and gave us a Referendum on our membership of the EU. As Nick Clegg said when he reneged on voting for a Referendum on the LisbonConTreaty, if a Referendum is to be held it should be an IN/OUT Referendum.

    So where is it?

  2. john stevens said

    In these difficult times I suppose one must be grateful for small mercies Jonathan.

  3. perdix said

    “LDs have softened Tory Eurosceptism”. Nonsense.Hague believes in “being in Europe but not run by Europe”.Even if you are a eurosceptic there is nothing to be gained by shouting yahboo! at people you may disagree with. One day,we will regain some powers lost to Europe.

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