Heseltine warning on Tory EU strategy

By politics.co.uk staff

David Cameron will eventually have to rethink his decision to pull out of the centre-right European parliament grouping, former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has said.

According to the Times, the pro-European Tory made the comments to the leadership at a private meeting last week.

The decision to withdraw from the centre-right European People’s party (EPP) grouping prompted anger and bewilderment on the continent, especially from the Tories’ traditional European allies, such as Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France.

It also created political ramifications when it became clear the Tories’ new grouping would include fringe parties with a controversial record on homosexuality.

Lord Heseltine is understood to be concerned about the way the move would limit Britain’s influence on the international stage – a concern reportedly shared by American secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Lord Heseltine believes the party will eventually have to “reach an accommodation” with EPP, regardless of the political damage such a U-turn would entail, the Time reported.

He has been at the centre of pro-European thought in the party in recent years, along with business secretary ken Clarke, who will find himself in an unenviable position if the party launches a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.