Pressure mounts on Cameron as poll shows Scottish voters believe veto has caused harm

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
David Cameron was under increasing pressure tonight as a poll carried out on behalf of the Times newspaper revealed concerns amongst voters over his Euro veto.
 
The survey carried out by Populus indicated a widespread belief amongst voters that the PM’s refusal to take part in Euro treaty negotiations had weakened the UK’s influence.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
David Cameron was under increasing pressure tonight as a poll carried out on behalf of the Times newspaper revealed concerns amongst voters over his Euro veto.
 
The survey carried out by Populus indicated a widespread belief amongst voters that the PM’s refusal to take part in Euro treaty negotiations had weakened the UK’s influence.

The survey showed that in the UK as a whole over half (56%) of those polled believed that the PM’s actions will reduce the influence of the UK inside the EU, in Scotland the figure was 53%.

The poll also suggested a significant UK/Scotland divide when respondents were asked whether they thought Mr Cameron had weakened the prospect of economic recovery.  In Scotland more people (27%) thought the PM had damaged the recovery with 21% disagreeing.

However, the UK figure showed a reversal with only 24% thinking the recovery would be harmed against 27% who disagreed.

In a sign of the suspicion with which Mr Cameron’s actions are being viewed in Scotland, 39% of Scots, more than in any other UK region, thought the veto was only used because of pressure from Eurosceptic Tories.  Less than half those, 17% disagreed.

Commenting on the poll, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

“Cameron might have fooled Conservative backbenchers but he certainly hasn’t fooled people in Scotland.

“Cameron’s actions are being seen for the political posturing they are and there is clear concern that not only has the UK’s influence in Europe been sacrificed but that this will do little for the UK’s economic recovery.

“David Cameron doesn’t just represent Tory backbenchers in Europe he represents the whole of the UK and for as long as that includes Scotland then he is duty bound to provide an explanation of what economic assessment was made and what the impact will be on key Scottish industries from his decision.

“This poll shows that people across Scotland doubt David Cameron’s motivation and have real concerns about the impact this decision will have.”

The Times poll follows another survey carried out at the weekend for the Mail on Sunday that showed Labour’s UK lead over the Tories had been wiped out following Mr Cameron’s refusal to negotiate with European leaders.

Labour leader Ed Miliband called the PM’s move “a bad deal for Britain” that “secures no extra protection for British business.” Mr Miliband added: “The Prime Minister made this deal not on national interests but because of the Conservative Party.”

Mr Miliband was joined by former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown who branded the veto a “catastrophically bad move”.

Tonight Deputy PM Nick Clegg further distanced himself from the Tory leader’s decision.  When speaking in an interview he confirmed that he “did not agree” with his coalition partner.

The Lib Dem leader, who played down the fact that he was absent today when Mr Cameron was speaking in the House of Commons, said “The Prime Minister and I clearly do not agree on the outcome of the summit last week.

“I have made it very clear that I think isolation in Europe, where we are one against 26, is potentially a bad thing for jobs, a bad thing for growth and a bad thing for the livelihoods of millions of people in this country.”

The Scottish government has demanded that Mr Cameron explain his decision to the other three devolved administrations.  First Minister Alex Salmond claimed that the isolation of the UK would have a damaging impact on Scottish industries and the Scottish financial sector. 

However the Tory PM’s refusal to negotiate with the 26 other European leaders was praised by CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan who insisted that Germany and France were to blame for not being prepared to give ground.

Mr McMillan said Mr Cameron’s decision was needed in order to “defend the City of London and its position as the financial centre of Europe”.

 

Populus polled almost 200 people [number being checked] in Scotland as part of a UK wide poll for the Times.  Asked do you agree with the following statements the results were as follows:

David Cameron’s use of the veto will reduce the influence of the UK inside the European Union (UK average in brackets)

Agree 53% (56%)
Disagree 8% (9%)
DK 18% (17%)

David Cameron’s use of the veto weakens the prospect of a UK economic recovery

Agree 27% (24%)
Disagree 21% (27%)
DK 22% (22%)

David Cameron only used the veto because he was under pressure from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs

Agree 39% (35%)
Disagree 17% (22%)
DK 21% (24%)