Hattersley Praises Liberals’ “Impeccable” European Credentials
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 22nd November, 2007
At a lunchtime seminar in the National Liberal Club, organised by the Local Government Group for Europe (LGE), Lord (Roy) Hattersley, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, ‘Guardian’ columnist, social historian and novelist , today issued a clarion call for pro-Europeans to go out and make the case for Europe. He praised what he called the Liberals’ impeccable record on Europe, and urged the Prime Minister to resist pressure for a referendum. ‘Referenda are the last refuge of governments in distress,’ he declared, adding that when Ming Campbell departed he was sad the LibDem policy of a referendum on staying in the EU did not go with him.
Charles Kennedy was the other main speaker at the event, clearly now on a Euro-roll. He said that in 1975, the Highlands and Islands had voted against EU membership, but that now they would vote in favour, as everywhere there is evidence (duly signed) of projects funded by the EU. He berated Gordon Brown for using the rhetoric of the Euro-sceptics to justify positive things about Europe. A change of tone is needed.
Roy Hattersley stood down as President of the LGE at the AGM immediately preceeding the seminar, ending a six-year stint. He wants time to work on his next book: appropriately enough, given the surroundings, a biography of David Lloyd-George.