April 21 2014 Latest news:
, Political editor
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I was chatting to David Miliband on Monday about the forthcoming negotiations on the European Union’s budget.
The former foreign secretary was typically scathing of the government’s approach to Europe, saying David Cameron’s infamous veto was “a very bad mistake”
He went on: “We are weak in Europe; there’s no question about that at the moment and our allies, our traditional allies in North Europe and elsewhere, are despairing really - is the right way of putting it - because we’ve got a government that is unable or simply doesn’t believe that regional associations of the kind the European Union is are the way of the future.”
Miliband said the recent vote in Parliament, in which Labour teamed up with Tory eurosceptics to inflict a defeat on the coalition, made Cameron’s bargaining position at the EU stronger, however.
It gives him, Miliband argued, the ability to say there is a strong feeling in Britain to reform the budget.
Defending his brother’s strategy, he said: “People who say this is Labour becoming anti-European are wrong. There is a misunderstanding there. This was a repositioning to take on the idea that to be pro-European means that you are soft headed about budgets.”
But when I suggested Labour’s support for the Tory rebels was a political stunt, I got at least a partial admission that it was.
“If you’re saying are there political tactics as well as high-minded European theory then yes, of course,” he said.
Nice to hear a politician accepting one of those things everyone already knows.