The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has branded advocates of British independence “deeply unpatriotic”, according the BBC. In an interview on Radio 4, he claimed that leaving the EU would lead to widespread unemployment.
He claimed it was wrong to suggest that unemployment was “a price worth paying” for leaving the European Union. Although he did concede that reforms were needed to the EU.
Mr Clegg said: “The reason why I’m in favour of our membership of the EU, why I’m committed to our membership of the EU, is not because of a starry-eyed love of everything that is decided in Brussels – far from it.”
He added that the EU was “as flawed as any arrangement… Whitehall and Westminster are flawed as well”.
The Deputy Prime Minister repeated earlier claims that Britain would suffer serious economic hardship from leaving the EU. During the Europe debate with Nigel Farage he claimed Britain would lose three million jobs if we left the EU. A claim he has found hard to substantiate.
“I don’t see how you can be pro British jobs, pro putting money in people’s pockets, pro giving the police the power to go after criminals across borders unless you’re pro us being a committed member of the EU,” he said.
“So I think it is a curiously unpatriotic thing to do to say that in this globalised world of ours we should somehow turn our backs on the EU.
“It would be damaging to Britain and would therefore be an unpatriotic thing to do to say that joblessness, unemployment – which is one of the most immediate consequences of our withdrawal from the EU – is a price worth paying.
“I think that’s deeply unpatriotic, and very unfair on the people who would lose jobs.”
The Liberal Democrats have made an admirable effort to defend the European Union. The party has deliberately set itself out as the only major political party willing to admit it supports EU membership.
The Conservatives and Labour have consistently ducked the issue to protect their poll ratings. But if Clegg was expecting any thanks for his stance he is wrong. His party is at 9 percent in the polls and are expecting to lose all 12 of their MEPs.