White House told to 'butt out' of debate over UK's role in EU

Eurosceptics furious at senior US official's call for Britain to stay a 'strong' member of Europe

LAST UPDATED AT 11:26 ON Thu 10 Jan 2013

A SENIOR representative of the Obama administration who said Britain needs to remain a "strong voice" within the EU or risk damaging its relationship with the US, has been told to "butt out" of the debate.

Speaking in London yesterday, Philip H Gordon (above centre) , Obama's assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, took the unusual step of expressing publicly the US's concerns about proposals for a referendum to decide on the UK's future in the EU.

He said the US valued a "strong UK voice in a strong European Union" and said Britain risked damaging relations with America if it "turned inward" by cutting ties with Brussels.

ITV says the message from the US administration couldn't be clearer given that Gordon is Obama's "point man" on Europe. And the BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith described it as a "significant development" in the debate.

Eurosceptics leading the push for a referendum on whether Britain should pull out of Europe were naturally unimpressed by Gordon's intervention. Obama should "butt out" of plans for a referendum, said The Commentator. "Anti-democratic practices from Brussels are bad enough without Americans encouraging the eurocrats' worst instincts," the website said.

David Cameron, who wants the UK to stay in Europe, but is under mounting pressure from within his party to hold a referendum on the issue, played down the comments today. "The US wants an outward-looking EU with Britain in it, and so do we," he said in a statement.

The PM is preparing to give a speech on Europe later this month and The Independent says he's likely to offer to "renegotiate" the UK's membership of the EU and then put the new terms to a referendum.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told the Radio 4 Today programme this morning that Gordon's comments had increased the pressure on Cameron to resist calls to quit the EU. He pointed out that Gordon's remarks came just a day after the chiefs of some of the UK's biggest companies wrote an open letter saying a major change in the country's position within the EU would cause "damaging uncertainty" and stifle investment.

"There is today a real risk of Britain sleepwalking towards exit because of a prime minister motivated more by the need for party unity than by the interests of the country," Alexander said.

But Eurosceptics are undeterred. The Conservative MP Douglas Carswell dismissed Gordon's comments today, tweeting: "A US official believes UK should continue to be ruled by EU officials. Hardly surprising - it's how officials think." · 

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It seems that the "Establishment" within Europe, the US and Great Britain are wilfully blind and deaf to the blindingly obvious option, which is for us to develop stronger trading links with Commonwealth and other nations without having to beg the EU for permission to do so.

We have a huge amount of pent-up talent and drive in this country which is being wilfully stifled, for idealogical and political reasons, by the jobsworths and bureaucrats in Brussels - this latest intervention by the US seeks to protect their own narrow national interests through the complete subordination of our own - some "Special Relationship" - one- sided and one-way as usual!

Sorry, I just cannot stop laughing, at the thought of these Euro sceptics pissing their pants!

The US master cracks the whip and the UK servant follows the orders.

Stop nagging about it, my dear friends. If you really want to quit, just hold your referendum and pull out if it's a "No". But mind you, the era of Britannia rules the waves is buried forever in the once so glorious past. By the way, you have always been a humble servant of the so-called superpower USA (and indeed not the only one). Do you really believe this will change when you stand on your own feet? If so, good luck!

It is in the interest of America for the UK to stay in the EU but is it in the interest of the UK I think not

Oh yes it will change my friend every dog has it day & America's day is over you are already on the downward slide & in your case because of recent actions there won't be many friends when you touch bottom

Despite a serious loss of prestige as a super power old habits die hard.Many media guys still call the office of the president of the U.S as the most powerful in the world ! And the liberal American media still thinks Obama is a kind of messiah for the entire world.

Good. The Americans, and the business leaders who wrote recently, are stating the blindingly obvious; outside the EU, we are stuffed. Everyone who thinks we can pick up with the Commonwealth again is living in cloud-cuckoo land. Seen much New Zealand lamb recently? No, it's all going to China and India, along with all the rest of their trade.
Unfortunately, we are being governed by overgrown schoolboys who can't find their arses with both hands. They need to be told to move back to the real world and start pulling their weight in the EU, not just standing on the sidelines carping.
The EU is not perfect, far from it, but it is early days yet and we have a big role to play in developing it.
Let's have a bit of vision and leadership for a change,not just rubbish misinformation from the likes of the Daily Heil.

at last a really good reason not to vote Conservative. They still think Britannia rules the waves and can somehow be anything other than part of Europe. get a grip.

An 'In-Out' referendum doesn't necessitate an exit from the EU - it's just as likely to turn up 'In' as 'Out' - it gives government a clear mandate to either join or leave. It will also end the current half-in-half-out status that central government seems to enjoy to the detriment of the rest of the country.

Where would you rather live? The USA with its domestic problems or Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc.

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