'Less is more' in Europe
William Hague has said there will be a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union after powers had been renegotiated, and suggested "less is more" when it comes to the EU's powers.
The Foreign Secretary told the Andrew Marr Show that once renegotiation and the eurozone crisis had played out, the Government would seek "fresh consent" from the British people.
“We do believe that sometimes less is more in Europe; that doing less at the European level is better for this county and for other countries, and what we’ve said is that when we see how that crisis in the eurozone plays out and when we’ve tried to improve our relationship with Europe, well that will be the time to seek fresh consent from the British people and the cleanest and clearest way of doing that would be in a referendum.
"But we will spell out our policy for the coming years and for the next general election when the Prime Minister speaks about these things.”
His predecessor David Miliband warned there was a sense of betrayal and "anger" on the continent over the UK's decision to distance itself from EU. He told the same programme there would be "big consequences" over Britain's withdrawal from Europe, insisting no major power in the 21st Century would be "divorced from its neighbours".
Mr Miliband said the Labour party was clear about the need for reform of the EU, but also clear that Britain would be better off as part of a strong Europe.
"I cannot over-emphasise to you the sense of disappointment, frustration, anger that exists on the continent at us, not just betraying our own future but betraying their future by not being part of the European debate in a very, very serious way," he said.
"I think that’s got big consequences for Britain. No serious power in the 21st Century is going to be divorced form its neighbours. It’s just a matter of fact. Actually in South America and elsewhere, countries are coming together to fashion regional associations."
His comments come as Tony Blair prepares to intervene in the debate over Europe, warning that any move to disengage from the Union would be a disaster for the British economy.
At a speech to business leaders on Wednesday, the former Prime Minister will argue Brussels needs to promote a "grand plan" about its purpose.