European Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 1:31 pm on 3rd June 2010.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Labour, South Shields 1:31 pm, 3rd June 2010

I want to put on record the fact that my hon. Friend did cover herself with glory in respect of the consistency of the positions she took on European issues and- [Interruption.] I have to say to the Foreign Secretary that we have been working on that through separate channels. My hon. Friend achieved a remarkable result in the general election and her result was testimony to what independent-minded and strong constituency MPs can achieve in this country. I am very pleased that she will be applying her independent mind not only to everything that I say, but to everything that the Government say on European issues as well, pointing out the inconsistencies as they develop.

Many of our European partners will be looking forward to the appearance of the Prime Minister at the new European Council. They will be scratching their heads about some of the policies that the new Government will develop. It is not that they find coalition Governments alien-there are, of course, coalition Governments all over Europe-but they often assume that members of the Government will agree with each other on key foreign policy issues. The other leaders will know that the Conservative party has spent a large part of the last decade campaigning to "save the pound", as they would put it, and that the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for the last 10 years to ditch the pound. That is why the Foreign Secretary said that there was no more "fanatically federalist party" in Britain than the Liberal Democrats. That was before his new-found enthusiasm for their support on the Government Benches.

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