London Evening Standard/London
Former Conservative leader Lord Howard yesterday poured cold water on David Cameron’s chances of securing major reforms in Europe, saying it was “not looking very likely”.
Howard said he would vote for an exit from the European Union unless Cameron achieved “genuine” reforms in his negotiations with other leaders.
His comments fuelled hopes among Leave campaigners that the peer, a popular figure with Tories, would play a major part in the in-out referendum battle. They come after Cameron hinted that a deal was slipping behind schedule by insisting he was in “no hurry” to get one signed up at a summit next month.
Asked on BBC Radio 4 how he would vote, Lord Howard said he would decide after seeing what Cameron brought home from the talks: “I have always wanted the United Kingdom to remain in a genuinely reformed European Union. It is not looking very likely, I have to say, that we are going to see a genuinely-reformed European Union.”
He added: “I have great respect and admiration for the prime minister. He may surprise us.”
But Lord Howard said he had “a lot of sympathy” with those urging an exit unless there was significant reform.
Cameron’s proposal for a four-year ban on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits in the UK has become the main sticking point in talks, although Germany’s Angela Merkel has said she believes a deal can be struck.
France’s premier Manuel Valls yesterday warned the massive influx of migrants from Syria and Iraq was putting the future of the European Union in “grave danger”. He said European societies could be “totally destabilised” unless tighter controls were put up at the EU’s external borders to keep unfounded refugees out.
“It could disappear, of course — the European project, not Europe itself, not our values, but the concept we have of Europe, that the founding fathers had of Europe. Yes, that is in very grave danger. That’s why you need border guards, border controls on the external borders of the European Union.”
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Valls made clear he thought Merkel had been wrong to say her country would welcome so many refugees...”A message that says ‘Come, you will be welcome’ provokes major shifts of population. If you say anything in Europe today, a few seconds later it is on the smartphones of people in refugee camps near Libya.”
Meanwhile actor Sir Michael Caine yesterday backed quitting the European Union unless there are major reforms. He accused Brussels of “dictating” rules and said: “I sort of feel certain we should come out.”
The intervention by one of Britain’s best-loved actors was a boost for Leave campaigners who have struggled to attract celebrity backers.
The star of Zulu and The Italian Job began an interview on the BBC’s Today programme by saying: “I don’t know what to vote for — both are scary.”
But he then lashed out at the EU machine. “You’ve now got in Europe a sort of government by proxy of everybody who has now got carried away and I think unless there’s some extremely significant changes we should get out,” he said. Page 18
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Tensions flare over virus-hit Italian ‘ghetto’
Kosovo’s Thaci accuses international justice of rewriting history
Six injured in Glasgow stabbing, suspect killed
Teenager who threw French boy from London art gallery roof jailed for 15 years
Three killed in stabbing attack in Scottish city of Glasgow
France announces ‘large scale’ virus testing campaign
Russians start early voting on reforms
Test and trace system fails to contain virus
Kosovo’s Thaci charged with war crimes for 1990s killings