Clause 1 — United Kingdom loans to Ireland

Part of Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time) – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 15th December 2010.

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Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North 4:45 pm, 15th December 2010

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Cash; I very much agree with what he has been saying. He is clearly much more erudite on these matters than me, but I understand what he is saying-that today, we are making to our closest friendly neighbour country a bilateral loan which has nothing to do with the European Union and which is not part of the panoply of EU arrangements. I am happy to go along with such an arrangement.

Mr Redwood has said many times that, if there are problems in the eurozone with the eurozone, they should be sorted out by the eurozone, not by countries outside the eurozone. I agree with him very strongly. This is a country that is our closest neighbour, with which we have deep, long historical relations-very friendly relations now, we are pleased to say. Indeed, I have many Irish constituents who are concerned about their country. We are making a friendly gesture to a neighbouring country-our nearest friendly neighbour-that happens to be in the eurozone, which we happen not to be.

We do not want to be in a situation where, if another country gets into difficulty, it says, "You made a loan to Ireland-you can make a loan to another country in the eurozone." That would not be acceptable.