Conservative Party grandee and long-serving government minister Kenneth Clarke has today blasted Tory MPs who lean towards Britain leaving the European Union as “hard core right wing nationalists”.
In an interview with Sky News, Clarke hit out at his party colleagues for setting up the moderate ‘Conservatives for Britain’ group – who have already announced that they will not immediately be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, but will instead wait and see what Mr Cameron delivers in terms of a renegotiation with Brussels.
His latest left-wing intervention comes on the back of UKIP leader Nigel Farage criticising those who want to wait around for Mr Cameron’s renegotiation. Mr Farage told the Telegraph: “I’m not going to wait around until Christmas waiting for them to get started. We’re up against big forces and people need to put aside personal jealousies and animosities and work together.
“Ukip can bring half the votes needed to win this referendum. What I want to see is Labour and Tory eurosceptics stand up and say to Mr Cameron ‘it’s not enough’ and coming over to join us.”
Clarke branded those who want to leave the EU “isolationist”, despite most of them making it clear that they want Britain to re-engage with the Commonwealth, which is more diverse, and further spread around the world than Europe, which is now one of the slowest growth areas in the globe.
Clarke told Sky: “It was obvious from the moment we said we were going to have a referendum that there would be party groups from all sides. There’s a hard core, right-wing nationalist end of the party that is determined to try to leave the European Union at any cost. These particular demands that they’re putting forward are of course completely incompatible with membership of the European Union and the European Economic Area.”
He added: “These are rather isolationist foreign policy people.”