Prime Minister David Cameron has postponed his controversial EU
Scottish News: Cameron’s EU speech postponed - hostage crisis cited as reason
by Leah Pears
Prime Minister David Cameron has postponed his long-awaited speech on Britain’s future in the European Union (EU) in order to deal with the ‘on-going’ hostage crisis in Algeria.
Extracts of the speech released on Thursday indicated that Cameron was set to warn that the EU must address key fundamental issues or the UK may “drift towards” an exit. Mr Cameron was to discuss the lack of democratic accountability in the EU, “difficult questions” on the Eurozone crisis and its global competitiveness.
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The PM said that he wants to set out a “positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part.”
The speech would have been closely watched by other European leaders, members of the Conservatives and the business community, as it was to include the PM’s plans to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership terms after the 2015 general election with the result being put to a referendum.
The speech was originally planned to be delivered in August 2012, and was then delayed until “before Christmas”. Now, the uncertainty over Britain’s future in the EU is creating fears over jobs and business across the country, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warning of a “chilling effect” on jobs earlier this week.
Voters in Scotland - who wish to remain inside the EU - will be watching to see if the UK does increasingly look like exiting before deciding to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Scotland’s independence referendum as a ‘yes’ vote may be the surest way of retaining European citizenship.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said on social media website Twitter: "The PM had a very difficult decision to make re events in Algeria. We have waited a long time for this speech & can wait a little longer."
Scots among hostages
Today, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond confirmed the hostages include a number of Scots and that two have been released. Mark Grant from Grangemouth, is being safely held by the Algerian army, however it is unclear whether he is of the two released by the militants.
During a statement in the House of Commons on the hostage crisis, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP asked Cameron if the Prime Minister could “give an assurance that there is the greatest possible co-ordination with the Scottish Government to make sure that families receive all necessary support.”
Cameron replied: ''I can certainly give the honourable gentleman that assurance. The Foreign Office minister the honourable member for North East Bedfordshire has spoken on several occasions to Kenny MacAskill. I myself spoke to the Scottish First Minister yesterday. I think it is very important that we work together, very closely on this and I will try and keep you updated''
He also warned that the country should prepare for the possibility of “further bad news” over the crisis.
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