UK & World News

  • 30 March 2014, 3:32

Clegg Attacks Parties Over Europe Debate

Nick Clegg has accused both Labour and the Conservatives of shying away from the debate on Britain's place in Europe.

The Deputy Prime Minister accused David Cameron and Ed Miliband of being more interested in their own internal politics than in standing up for Britain in the Europe debate.

The Liberal Democrat leader will face UKIP's Nigel Farage in the second head-to-head showdown over the EU on Wednesday.

A YouGov poll found that Mr Farage won the first debate, shown live on LBC and Sky News, with 57% of those questioned saying he performed best -against 36% for the Deputy Prime Minister.

But in an email to supporters, Mr Clegg insisted the debate showed that the Lib Dems were prepared to fight over the issue - unlike the Tories and Labour.

He said: "I am very proud that Liberal Democrats are prepared to stand up for Britain by issuing a full throated defence of our place in Europe. It's clear we're the only party prepared to do so.

"The Labour and Conservative leaderships are bowing their heads and averting their gaze, desperate for the debate to move on.

"They may hold different positions on the EU, but their leaderships are treating it in the same way: a problem they don't want to talk about.

"Both parties are riddled with division, more interested in themselves than standing up for our country.

"We are a party that knows, that to protect British jobs, to ensure our country is safe and to keep our standing in the world, we need to be in Europe, not out.

"And as you showed last week, we're prepared to fight for it."

Meanwhile, a new survey makes for grim reading for Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The Opinium survey for the Observer puts Labour on 33%, down two points from a fortnight ago, with the Tories on 32%, up two points, indicating a continuing bounce from George Osborne's Budget on March 19.

The poll puts UKIP on 15% (down one) and the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 10%.

:: Watch Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage go head to head again on Wednesday, April 2, from 6.30pm on Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.