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Hampstead MP Glenda Jackson hits out at PM David Cameron over EU referendum

PUBLISHED: 18:10 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:16 23 January 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, January 23). Picture: PA

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, January 23). Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of "putting the needs of the Conservative Party over those of the country" after his speech on an EU referendum today (Wednesday, January 23).

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson has accused the Prime Minister of putting 'party before country' over the EU referendum. Picture: Nigel SuttonHampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson has accused the Prime Minister of putting 'party before country' over the EU referendum. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Mr Cameron gave his long-awaited speech on Britain’s membership of the European Union this morning and promised to ask the country whether Britain should be in or out of Europe by the end of 2017.

The Prime Minister said if he wins the next general election he will demand the repatriation of a series of powers to Britain and then hold a referendum.

But the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn expressed her anger at his position in “economically unstable times”.

She said: “This is a cheap move to win back his backbenchers at the risk of the nation’s economy.

“This shows, yet again, that Mr Cameron is the wrong man to steer us through this economic crisis.”

The Oscar winning actress, who has been an MP for more than 20 years, added: “There are too many ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ for his speech to mean anything, and all he has done after six months of build-up to this speech is put us all into six years of agonising and wondering about Europe.

“It is in the nation’s interest to be in the European Union, both politically and economically.

“He is asking the wrong question and it is most definitely the wrong time.

“Raising the issue now will only mean more instability for our fragile economy, because no one will want to invest if we are threatening to pull out of Europe.”

In a major speech in London, the Prime Minister said the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election will ask for a mandate to negotiate a “new settlement” for Britain in Europe, which will be put to voters in a referendum within the first half of the five-year parliament.

His offer threatened to drive a wedge through the heart of the coalition Government, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warning that a renegotiation of Britain’s position in Europe was “not in the national interest” and would lead to years of uncertainty for business.

Standing in front of a backdrop with the slogan “Britain and Europe”, Mr Cameron said: “It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.”

He added: “When the referendum comes, let me say now that if we can negotiate such an arrangement, I will campaign for it with all my heart and soul.

“Because I believe something very deeply. That Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.”

Do you agree with the Hampstead and Kilburn MP? Have your say @HamandHigh, email letters@hamhigh.co.uk or visit www.facebook.com/HampsteadandHighgate

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