In full: David Cameron Commons statement on EU veto

Key points

  • David Cameron addressed MPs on the reasons behind his EU veto
  • Deputy PM Nick Clegg says the decision was "bad for Britain"
  • Labour say Mr Cameron mishandled the negotiations and has left Britain isolated

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    Hello and welcome to our live page on the fallout from David Cameron's decision to veto EU treaty changes. We'll provide updates and analysis as the prime minister prepares to face MPs in the Commons to explain his actions.


    For those of you who aren't familiar with the background to Mr Cameron's appearance later, it comes after he blocked changes to the EU's Lisbon Treaty - which had been aimed at addressing the euro crisis and preventing a repeat in the future - at a summit in Brussels on Friday.


    You can find out more about David Cameron's veto on a EU-wide treaty by reading our guide to his decision and its ramifications.


    This has become a domestic political issue for David Cameron - as well as a Europe-wide one - because his own deputy, Nick Clegg, is unhappy. In this BBC interview, Mr Clegg speaks of his "bitter disappointment" at the outcome of last week's EU talks. In it, he says the decision was "bad for Britain".


    As they have been all weekend, the papers are split down the middle on this issue. The Guardian is worried about the big picture, fearing the summit did little to actually help the eurozone crisis. It says there are two choices - get the Germans to agree to a common European Treasury in the form of the European Central Bank - or break up the euro. The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, focuses on fallout closer to home, accusing Nick Clegg of retreating into "Euro fantasy land". It says he wanted "to let off steam for the benefit of his troops" but struggles to understand why "when ordinary Britons have so little sympathy for dogmatic Europhilia".

    1000: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    There's been a noticeable hardening in Nick Clegg's language, in part because many senior Liberal Democrats have got up and said, 'We are not happy with this.' We've had Lord Ashdown, Lord Oakeshott and Baroness Tonge all expressing disquiet. So, in a way, he's having to respond to pressure within his own party. But I think there's also an element in which he feels he's got to push back against what he fears will now be a move by the Eurosceptics to press ahead with a much harder agenda. So in a way it's a bit like if you have noisy neighbours making your life a misery, then you turn up the volume to make their life a misery too.


    Speaking outside his home a short time ago, Business Secretary Vince Cable says: "What we badly need is complete reassurance that we are fully committed to working in the European Union." He says "millions of British jobs depend on it", including his own.


    Unlike his colleague Mr Cable, the deputy prime wasn't in a chatting mood when he left home this morning.

    Nick Clegg
    Wall Street Journal's, Alistair MacDonald,

    tweets: A pretty clear split on Cameron's #euro veto: the British public mainly like, the rest of the world thinks it was mistake. Isolated, moi?


    The prime minister says his decision was designed to protect Britain's financial services. But is the City actually worse off after veto? The BBC's Joe Lynam considers this question.

    @anengiyefa, in London, UK,

    tweets: Financial markets are down today, showing that the #EU simply making proposals for greater fiscal union alone is not enough #Euro


    Writing in the Independent, Andrew Grice argues that the problem faced by Mr Cameron is that Conservative Eurosceptics are "never satisfied". "Although they don't admit it, the hardliners see his veto as just the start of a process leading to Britain's EU exit," he writes.

    @KGBut, in UK,

    tweets: #UK may be on the outside but it will still be engulfed when the #eurozone explodes! #eurocrisis #eu


    What does the rest of Europe make of the UK move? Well, Peter Altmeier, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, tells the BBC he's "pretty much certain this is just one example" of David Cameron going it alone "and better examples of cooperation will follow". He says the UK made demands in Brussels which were "so far going" they simply couldn't be agreed, and points out that many other countries have asked for exemptions to things - the French on agriculture for example - "that the UK would never agree".


    tweets: Need to redefine mandate of ECB to intervene to protect Eurozone from contagion - says Polish Finance minister #EUveto


    In his latest blog entry, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Nick Clegg's switch from defending the prime minister's negotiating stance to expressing his bitter disappointment in just two days appears to be a reaction to "the crowing of Tory Eurosceptics and the Tory press about the use of the veto, and the anger that it produced in his own party".


    Nick Clegg is "blinded by a fanatical obsession with the EU", argues Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail.


    Conservative Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is known for voicing his enthusiasm for Europe, but as he left home a short time ago, he didn't say very much at all. "Wait for the prime minister's statement this afternoon" was all he would offer.

    Justice Secretary Ken Clarke
    @EuropaJens, in Essen, Germany,

    tweets: Going to Strasbourg, last #EP plenary in 2011: Response to council's #Euro summit, prepared to say "farewell" to the British collegues.


    Not all Liberal Democrats have criticised Mr Cameron's decision. The former chief secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, blames French "villains" for putting the prime minister in a difficult position. "It seems as if many of the other eurozone nations didn't really understand Britain's negotiation position, and it seems to many of us that France took a deliberate decision to ignore the quite reasonable demands of the UK and perhaps actively seek to exclude the UK from the core of European Union countries," he says.

    @_AnthonyTaylor_, in Manchester,

    tweets: David Cameron's use of the veto was a monetary trade-off for prolonged "independence". We haven't given up democracy just yet #EU


    Michael Fallon, Conservative deputy chairman, says his party will be "reassuring" their Liberal Democrat partners that Britain will remain a full member of the EU.


    All eyes might be on Europe, but this morning David Cameron is also looking further afield, welcoming the King of Bahrain Hamad Al-Khalifa to Downing Street.

    David Cameron and the King of Bahrain Hamad Al-Khalifa
    Harry Cole,

    on the The Commentator blogs: Reports of the demise of the UK's coalition are greatly exaggerated. He writes: "The prime minister has got his party behind him again and the Liberal Democrats completely over a barrel... In reality, Cameron's grip over his coalition has never been stronger. Though nor have the stakes ever been higher."

    @Margit11, in Munich and London,

    tweets: Interesting, just read Alex Salmond accused Cameron of harming Scottish interests by opting out. #euro


    "We simply cannot defend Britain's national interests in an empty room," argues shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. He says his party leader, Ed Miliband, will use the Commons debate to ask the prime minister what, if anything, has been achieved by his veto. He says Labour would have been better at building alliances.

    Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander
    1122: Former foreign secretary David Miliband

    tells the BBC's John Humphrys on Radio 4's Today programme that David Cameron's use of the veto in EU negotiations was "the first veto in history not to stop something... It was a phantom veto." Listen here.

    @ufearme, UK,

    tweets: ok #eu - your turn? now are you going to fix that #euro? my money is on the #uk.


    German newspaper Der Spiegel says Chancellor Angela Merkel "wants to prevent Britain and the eurozone from drifting further and further apart", and feels it's important "to give the British the feeling that they are still part of Europe". But the paper believes the French feel differently, "hoping that they will carry more weight in a union that does not include Britain".


    Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond accuses the prime minister of "blundering" into altering the UK's relationship with the EU, in a letter to Mr Cameron. He says the decision could have implications for the relationship between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and their European neighbours. In his letter, Mr Salmond poses six "crucial questions" about the veto, such as what risk assessment, if any, did the UK government carry out on its impact on investment into Scotland.

    Ken Smith in Sleaford, Lincs

    emails: The argument that the rift with the EU will cost us millions of British jobs is a falsehood. The European countries need our trade; we actually buy more off them than they buy off us, so they will not stop trading, so we will not lose jobs. We may actually have more jobs and more money to cut our deficit if we withdraw from the EU.


    "Businesses are now desperate to hear a positive statement from Mr Cameron about how the UK's position in the single market can somehow be buttressed," writes BBC business editor Robert Peston in his latest blog entry. He says many business leaders are "profoundly uneasy" about the decision taken by the prime minister.


    UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says the real debate about the UK's membership of the EU is now starting. Despite David Cameron's insistence he used the veto to protect the finance sector, Mr Farage says "the City of London now faces retribution as a result of Cameron's veto and every step must be taken to protect it from these attacks".


    The Spectator's web editor Peter Hoskin describes this as one of the most tense periods for the coalition government. "The Lib Dems are, basically, scared of annihilation," he writes. "They have gained much from the coalition, both in terms of policy and of experience, but it is now coming at some cost to their self-identity. Europe, voting reform, tuition fees - these are all core Lib Dem concerns, but they are also the areas where they have, very publicly, lost out to the Tories."


    Amid all the talk of Europe, there is more bad news for the UK economy. Economists at Standard Chartered bank have issused a gloomy forecast for 2012, predicting a contraction of 1.3% - having previously predicted growth of 0.6%. Mind you, they say things will be worse in the eurozone - with a contraction of 1.5%.


    A few lines just in from Downing Street. The prime minister's official spokesman says the government will seek to "engage constructively" with other EU countries in the wake of last week's summit. He says it will also continue to press for safeguards for the City.


    On comments from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday, David Cameron's spokesman said: "Things happen that you don't anticipate - that's the nature of coalition government."


    Over in Brussels, Olli Rehn, European commissioner for economic affairs, tells a press conference it's too early to say if the accord agreed last week will be enough to fix the eurozone's problems. He says we should have a clearer idea by early January, adding that he is disappointed that not all EU members signed up to the new fiscal arrangements.

    Olli Rehn
    Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, Bruno Waterfield,

    tweets: #eurozone: Rehn, speculation that inter-gov treaty is not enforceable is misguided, it's bold

    Kim Comber in Brno, Czech Republic

    tells the BBC: I moved over to the Czech Republic from Brighton four years ago and work in the telecommunications industry. The feeling is that there is not much desire here for the country to move to the euro, so my personal view is that they will be joining the UK in saying no, thank you to the treaty.

    1214: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    My sense is that Downing Street is just trying to dampen things down and take the heat out of this. And I think we'll hear more of that when David Cameron addresses MPs this afternoon. I don't think we will see any triumphalism whatsoever.

    Polya Lesova, from MarketWatch,

    on the Wall Street Journal, blogs about US stock futures dropping amid eurozone worries. She writes: "The initial enthusiasm over Friday's European deal was starting to give way to concern on Monday. While medium-term measures have been generally welcomed, many analysts note that they fail to address the short-term problems of high borrowing costs for heavily indebted euro-zone nations such as Italy."


    Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell tells BBC2's Daily Politics it's "ridiculous" of Labour to suggest that David Cameron "deliberately walked into the negotiations without a friend" anywhere in Europe. In having his demands refused, the PM paid the price for the last 20 years during which time "we have appeared not to be fully engaged" in the EU, Sir Menzies adds.

    Tim Darch, in Wiltshire, England,

    emails: What happened on Friday scares me and I believe it was inexcusable in the extreme. It was like a scene from the Titanic, where the ship [in this case Europe] is sinking and all that Mr Cameron was interested in was saving the silver, at whatever cost. Unfortunately I feel his actions may have helped sink the ship and has certainly lost the silver in the process, when will people learn you save the ship then fight over the cargo!

    Neil, in Doha, Qatar,

    emails: We need a very strong, cohesive government now more than ever in the past 40 years. If Clegg is not up to the job, then he needs to go now. If the coalition turns in on itself, we will lose focus at precisely the wrong time.


    Conservative Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin says Lib Dems are "in a very difficult position". The MP for Harwich and North Essex tells the BBC: "Most of their voters are much less enthusiastic about Europe than the Liberal Democrats themselves. They must be looking at the opinion polls, seeing how much support the prime minister has got in the opinion polls for what he has done, and I would've thought most Liberal Democrat MPs will not want to campaign against what is a popular policy and also in the national interest."

    Bernard Jenkin

    EU Economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn expresses "regret" over David Cameron's decision not to sign up to a new EU treaty on fiscal and economic integration. He tells a press conference: "I regret it not only for the sake of Europe as for the sake of British citizens."


    "Nick Clegg has shown once again he has no bottom line and no principles. His public anger is matched only by his private acquiescence," says Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman. She adds that, despite expressing disappointment about the veto, he remains deputy prime minister in a government which he believes has taken an action which is "damaging for Britain in the longer term".

    Andrew Turnbull, in Saffron Walden, England,

    emails: Whilst it is unsettling to feel that we are all alone, the fact remains that the UK is and will continue to represent an enormous market for the EU trading partners and [they] will not turn their backs on a valuable customer.


    How will the euro crisis end? Here are some possible scenarios mapped out in an interactive feature on the BBC News website.


    The BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt believes Britain "may yet find it can attract refugees from the eurozone to its banner". In his latest blog, he says: "Across Europe, there are fears that Germany is becoming too powerful and Britain could yet be seen as a counterbalance to Germany's growing influence."


    French President Nicolas Sarkozy admits that the EU is now a two-speed alliance but insists that Britain will not be marginalised. "There are now clearly two Europes," he tells French daily Le Monde. And, asked whether Britain could still remain inside the EU single market, Sarkozy adds: "We need Great Britain. We'd be greatly impoverished if we allowed its departure which, luckily, is not on the agenda."

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy
    Sky News Europe Correspondent, Robert Nisbet,

    tweets: #euro Rehn clearly believes EU bodies (including EC) can be used to enforce 'fiscal compact' - UK disagrees: all 27 would have to say yes...Interesting that most of German journos at this news conference have tabled questions about UK's position


    "Plenty of British prime ministers have vetoed things," says London Mayor Boris Johnson, arguing this isn't a "unique moment". He also rejects suggestions that the City of London or the UK will be "punished" for its stance. On the subject of the coalition, Mr Johnson says that as he understands it, "David Cameron's position was fully supported by the Liberal Democrats".


    To put the UK's position into context, check out our guide to the stance taken by the 27 members of the EU over the Euro.

    Andrew, in Suffolk, England,

    emails: Before we all get to carried away, the other 26 have not actually agreed anything other than to discuss a new treaty within a treaty. That's a long way from signing up to anything meaningful. Moreover five or six have agreed to refer it to their parliaments before entering the discussions. So a lot of water has to pass yet.

    @doctorbjorn, in Norway and Canada,

    tweets: Socialist challenger to #Sarkozy, #Hollande, tries to wrest populist card out of #LePen's hand: "would renegotiate EU deal" if elected.

    @HiFX_MarketInfo, in Windsor, England,

    tweets: Euro at nine month low against Sterling close to 1.1800 #forex #eu


    In the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan asks: "What is the point of the Liberal Democrats?" He accuses the party of sacrificing its "distinctive beliefs and principles" while receiving "little in return".

    Peter Brown, in Northampton, England,

    The enormity of David Cameron's veto will take some time, possibly three years to filter down to grassroots opinion around Europe. I fear for the future of British holiday makers and British property owners across the continent. Even long standing friendships could be shattered by this reckless ten minutes of nothing but rhetoric.

    Nicholas Mills, in Adelaide, Australia,

    I believe that Cameron was ambushed. Reading reports of what Cameron was asking for, makes it sound like the French and Germans had gone into the meeting to dictate terms irrespective of what Cameron had to offer.


    in their Cameron faces Commons blog asks: Who do you think stands to lose the most from a 'two-speed' Europe?

    John Wells in Caerphilly

    emails his reaction: The world is a big place with close to 160 other countries to trade with. David Cameron has shown some backbone by making the decision he did and then following through. Let us just hope that this is the start of a divorce from a very costly marriage.

    1320: James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    says: The prime minister's task this afternoon is two-fold. One is to try to smooth some ruffled feathers on the Liberal Democrat benches. I'm told that Nick Clegg has been closely involved in the preparation of his statement. At the same time the prime minister also has to manage expectations on his own benches. I'm told meetings are taking place to make sure that MPs are told 'we don't want triumphalism, we don't want over the top statements. We just want realism and pragmatism'. That's his task. I'm told the prime minister wants to be firm but not incendiary. It's clearly going to be a tough afternoon.

    1322: London Mayor, Boris Johnson,

    blogs for The Telegraph: He writes: "They (Europe) aren't really angry with us for opposing the new treaty for fiscal union. The reason our brother and sister Europeans are so chronically enraged with the British is that we have been proved completely right about the euro."


    Conservative MP David Davis tells BBC Radio 4's World at One programme that the UK should aim to forge a relationship with the EU which allows protection not only for the City of London but for other industries and aspects of the British way of life. "The simple truth is that we will have to make some arguments about repatriation," he says.

    Steve Applegate in Bedford, UK

    emails: David Cameron was completely correct in applying this country's veto. If the deal on the table was not in our best interest then why sign it?


    Former EU Commissioner and Conservative cabinet minister Lord Brittan says the UK will need to "mend some fences" with its EU partners. He tells the BBC's World at One that the UK was not in a "good position" and would now have to "repair relationships". It would be wrong for the UK to object to other countries using EU institutions to pursue closer integration, he adds, as this would be seen as a "hostile and aggressive act".


    One of the UK's top businessmen, Sir Martin Sorrell, has questioned David Cameron's veto move, saying it could give the impression "the UK is outside Western Europe". The chief executive of advertising firm WPP told the BBC's Daily Politics that it's "much better to be inside working with the powers that be than outside".


    If you're just joining us, try reading our simple guide to the EU deal on the debt crisis for context ahead of the prime minister's statement in the Commons later.

    1359: Thomas Minton in Bournemouth, UK

    emails: What is happening today scares me, David Cameron has literally just opened up the United Kingdom to a lifetime of debt and it is not his debt he has to worry about. It is my generation that will have to pick up the pieces.


    Some interesting thoughts from leading French politician Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election. He says Friday's agreement was the "wrong answer" and, if elected, he would renegotiate the deal to give greater powers to the European Central Bank to intervene to support markets.


    William Hill says they have cut their odds on there being a general election next year in the wake of tensions between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems over Europe. The bookmakers say they have taken a string of bets on there being a snap poll next year. But Conservative backbencher David Davis tells the BBC he believes an election is unlikely as the two parties want to focus on the urgent economic problems facing the country.

    William James, Reuters correspondent

    tweets: Polls just on the wire predict 100 bln #euro takeup at first 3-yr #ECB tender, though survey gave wide range of answers.


    An update on what we can expect later in the Commons. David Cameron's statement, Ed Miliband's response and contributions from backbenchers are likely to last about 90 minutes. The Commons Speaker has decided proceedings will wrap up at about 1700 GMT, when there will be a statement on RBS by Treasury minister Mark Hoban. In practice, what this means is that not all MPs who want to speak will have an opportunity to do so.

    Andrew Sparrow, the Guardian's senior political correspondent

    tweets: Standard & Poor's says EU needs "another shock" before EU leaders grasp full seriousness of the eurozone debt crisis


    Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood suggests his party leader Nick Clegg should play a more substantial role in future EU negotiations as he has "very good relations" with European leaders. "We need to play to that kind of strength to repair the damage that has been done," he tells the BBC News Channel.


    Friday's deal did little to help the euro, Conservative MP John Redwood suggests. Using a medical metaphor, he says the single currency needed urgent "treatment and medicine" but, instead, the EU leaders spent their time talking about "building a hospital".


    Before David Cameron gets started in the Commons, Theresa May will be answering Home Office questions. That will start just after 1430 GMT.

    Cornel Ciocirlan in Bucharest, Romania

    emails: The problem in the end is that everybody is buying German or French cars and paying German or French companies for their electricity, gas, water - but the Germans aren't buying anything the Greeks make. What is happening now is Germany and France are driving these economies into the ground to ensure an even larger competitive advantage over the long term. If they want peace, they should be fixing these imbalances and creating prosperity.

    Roger Weatherley in Newton Abbot

    emails: Europe cannot do without the UK and the UK cannot do without the City of London. Perhaps we should forge stronger links with India and China, relink with the Commonwealth and talk to the US more.

    Adam Levin

    tweets: Key Euro Issue: How to promote economic growth and competitiveness in the poorer countries that ran up large debts and trade deficits. #euro


    Strong words from Conservative MP Julian Lewis. He tells Sky News he fears Europe is moving towards a single economic government and this will pose a "danger to peace and stability in Europe in the long term" as it will erode democracy. Just in case anyone doubts where he stands, Mr Lewis is wearing a pound sterling badge on the lapel of his jacket.

    1453: James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    The BBC has been told that the House of Commons authorities are preparing for a rowdy session this afternoon. Sources in the Commons said the Serjeant at Arms' Office has been told that the Speaker could be forced to expel some MPs if they behave improperly or refuse to retract unparliamentary language. As such, extra officials have been drafted in to stand by and be ready to accompany MPs out of the building if they are - to use the parliamentary jargon - "named" by the Speaker.


    Labour are urging Lib Dem MPs to work with them to "get a better outcome" for the UK in Europe. Writing on the New Statesman website, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander accuses David Cameron of putting party before national interest and says Labour and the Lib Dems must show "serious statesmanship" to avoid the UK being marginalised.

    Karl L in Leicestershire

    emails: David Cameron did the right thing. Closer integration with an unelected failing EU and its currency would open us to further pain. EU leaders have fixed nothing. Well done David!


    Polls over the weekend seemed to show the public were pretty keen David Cameron's veto. A Populus survey of 1,951 adults for the Times found that 57% felt he was right to do it while only 14% disagreed with the move. Meanwhile, a Survation poll of 1,020 for The Mail on Sunday suggested the PM had the support of 62% of the public - while only 19% were against him.


    Ahead of the Commons debate, it's worth considering the UK's position in Europe. While the UK wielded its veto, another three non-eurozone countries have expressed reservations about the EU summit deal. Three correspondents consider what lies ahead for Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic who, despite having all agreed to consider taking part in the "fiscal compact" to save the eurozone, show no clear sign yet that they will sign up.

    Alex in Neath, South Wales

    emails: David Cameron has acted clearly in the UK's best interest. There has been an incredible amount of comment over the weekend of the downside of his actions, in particular Mr Ashdown. The UK pays approx 12% of the #EU budget, only one country sees less of a return of input: Germany. We should be asking what's in it for us?


    Over in the Commons the green benches are filling up in eager anticipation of the prime minister's appearance.

    House of Commons
    1527: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    What we've been hearing from government sources is language about engaging constructively and engaging positively with Europe. What we haven't been hearing are any of the 're' words; repatriate, renegotiate or redefine our relationship with Europe. And my sense is that there is a concerted attempt to just dampen things down a bit.


    Wales's first minister Carwyn Jones is writing to David Cameron to voice objections about the prime minister's use of the veto at the EU leaders' summit.


    David Cameron is now on his feet to address a packed House of Commons.

    1531: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    It's very nearly standing room only on the government side - Justice Secretary Ken Clarke got a place on the front bench in good time


    Mr Cameron says he went to the EU summit to protect Britain's interests.


    Speaker John Bercow interrupts the PM to silence jeering MPs.


    A raucous atmosphere forces Mr Cameron to sit briefly while the speaker calls for order.

    Two Knights Trading, investment research firm

    : Nothing much has changed with the Euro situation since Friday - we simply have bears exerting more pressure than bulls #markets #euro


    Mr Cameron says he went to Brussels genuinely looking for an agreement and what the UK asked for was "modest, reasonable and relevant".


    David Cameron, with his chancellor at his left hand.

    David Cameron

    "We were simply asking for a level playing field," says Mr Cameron. He says denies that the government is "going soft on the banks".


    Chancellor George Osborne, seated to the prime minister's left, nods, smiles and points at Labour's front bench as Mr Cameron speaks.

    1537: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Howls of derision from the Labour side when the PM says he was genuinely seeking a deal. He is also keen to stress that the financial services sector isn't limited to the City of London.


    Mr Cameron says the choice was a "treaty without proper safeguards or no treaty". He says the right answer was no treaty.


    As the debate kicked off, Labour MPs shouted "Where's Clegg?" We still haven't spotted the deputy PM in the chamber.


    The prime minister says the UK remains a member of the EU and that membership gives the UK "a strong voice on the global stage". "We are in the European Union and we want to be", he says.


    Mr Cameron restates what he's said many times before - while he is in Downing Street the UK will never join the single currency.

    1540: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Over the weekend Lib Dem aides said Nick Clegg would have no difficulty sitting beside the PM and was used to having every facial expression analysed. In fact, the PM is flanked by George Osborne and Leader of the House Sir George Young hence Labour MPs asking about the DPM's whereabouts.


    MPs are told Mr Cameron believes in an EU with the "flexibility of a network" rather than "the rigidity of a block".


    If Britain had agreed to a treaty change, it would not have had proper protection, the prime minister tells the Commons.


    IMF resources are for countries not currencies, says the PM. The UK supports giving the International Monetary Fund more cash, but not just so it can effectively create a eurozone bailout fund, he adds.


    The speaker interrupts Mr Cameron again and tells the opposition front bench to conduct themselves with a degree of "reserve".

    1544: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Nick Clegg decided, I'm told, that his presence in the Chamber would be a distraction. Taking the pro European seats on the front bench are Ken Clarke - who I'm told had an important phone conversation with the prime minister over the weekend - and Vince Cable - who used last Monday's cabinet to warn against a negotiating position based on protecting the City.


    Mr Cameron says there is not a binary choice. It is possible to be a full, committed member of the EU without participating in every decision.


    Ed Miliband now takes centre stage. He begins by pointing out the absence of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He then says Mr Cameron returned from EU talks with "a bad deal".

    Nick in Nottingham

    emails: We don't have the global influence we once had. We've seen recently the US, China, India and Russia don't really care for closer ties to the UK. The only way we are going to compete with these big economies is being a fully signed-up member of the EU.


    Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, says the prime minister has failed to prove there was any threat to the UK's financial services. He adds that Mr Cameron has failed to establish any extra protections for the industry anyway.


    The Labour leader says the prime minister has "left us without a voice".

    1549: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Downing St said the PM would be measured and not triumphialist and in fact, he stressed Britain's engagement with Europe - something perhaps designed to appeal to the Lib Dem part of the coalition. However, the Lib Dem leader was not there to hear it.


    Uproar on both sides of the chamber when Mr Miliband quotes pro-European Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine.


    It's not a veto when the action you tried to stop goes ahead without you, says the Labour leader. He says that's called "losing" - to noisy cheers from his party's MPs.

    1551: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Europhile Conservative Lord Heseltine has now become a hero of the Labour benches! Order papers waved by Labour MPs when Ed Miliband says the PM was defeated in Europe.


    Mr Miliband asks: Why didn't the prime minister seek a deal with the Swedes, Poles, Dutch?

    1552: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Lib Dem MP Tom Brake gives up his seat for former party leader Ming Campbell so he is likely to intervene in this debate.


    The prime minister's actions, and the "bad deal" they left the UK with, means the country will be on "the sidelines" for years to come, says Mr Miliband.


    The prime minister's decision was "bad for business and bad for the country", concludes the Labour leader to cheers from his MPs.


    The noise level in the chamber reaches new deafening heights when the PM hits back at Mr Miliband - he says the Labour leader talked for 15 minutes and still didn't tell the House whether he was for or against a reworked EU treaty.

    1555: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Uproar in the house with Conservative MPs chanting "answer" at the Labour leader over whether he would have signed a new EU treaty.


    The prime minister says Labour simply "goes along with what others want".

    Robert Gant

    tweets: Ed Miliband's speech has more references of the detail in the treaty proposal than Cameron's speech did. #eu #wheresclegg


    "Just because you are in opposition, doesn't mean you should oppose British interests," says the prime minister. He says the Labour leader should have the courage to state whether he would have backed the treaty or not.


    Ed Miliband in full flow.

    Ed Miliband
    1558: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Veteran MP Sir Peter Tapsell gets away from domestic politics and questions whether what was agreed in Brussels really will bolster the euro.


    Former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw demands to know exactly which paragraphs of the proposal put to David Cameron in Brussels were threatening to the UK.


    Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Conservative MP for Kensington, also criticises the Labour leader's refusal to say whether he would have backed the treaty.


    Labour's David Miliband asks the PM to confirm whether the UK has ever lost a significant vote in Europe on financial regulation - and asks why we couldn't keep winning them in the future. The prime minister says Mr Miliband is "very naive about what's happening in Europe over financial services". He says the UK is constantly facing threats of "frankly discriminatory legislation" from Brussels.

    Gerhard in Germany

    emails: Friday night was certainly not the finest hour for British diplomacy. I very much hope that the PM will find a suitable way to return to the negotiating table as both Britain and the rest of Europe need firm ties to overcome the present economic crisis.


    Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell wants to know what practical steps could now be taken by the UK to help solve the eurozone crisis. Mr Cameron assures him the UK will be working hard to do just that and lists a series of diplomatic steps.

    1605: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    The PM is barracked when he accuses the former foreign secretary David Miliband of naivety. So far two thirds of Labour contributions have come from members of the same family.


    Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, says Mr Cameron either didn't prepare properly or went to the talks with the intention of using his veto.


    Former Europe minister Denis MacShane says the perception around the world is that the UK has committed "a diplomatic catastrophe" - and asks if the PM will take Nick Clegg with him to all future EU negotiations. Mr Cameron conveniently ignores that question.


    Mr MacShane also says Britain is now "ideologically fused to the notion of isolation".


    "I did exactly what I said I was going to do but, apparently, in politics that's surprising these days," the prime minister tells MPs. He means that he promised he wouldn't sign any agreement he wasn't happy with - and didn't.

    1609: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Noteworthy that Eurosceptic John Redwood gives the PM strong backing having previously pushed for a more radical rewriting of the UK's relationship wiith Europe - and, ultimately, a referendum.

    1610: Nick Robinson Political editor

    David Cameron's speech was clearly written to reassure pro Europeans, but when he declared "We are in the EU and want to be" Labour MPs pointed and laughed at the silent Conservative benches.


    Mr Cameron says his job in government is to protect and defend the national interests at all times, and that's what he feels did.

    1612: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, unable to get a seat on the floor of the House, has appeared in the gallery upstairs alongside observers from the House of Lords. I am sure he thinks it would be premature to join the peers permanently!


    Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, says Mr Cameron "surrendered to his backbenchers" and asks whether the prime minister is ashamed of himself.

    1614: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Sir Menzies Campbell congratulated David Cameron on his "unequivocal statement" backing the benefits of EU membership but asked him to spread that message to his own supporters. Sir Menzies might have been expected to be rather more critical if, that is, he hadn't been asked by Team Clegg to take the airwaves on Friday morning to greet the deal as "inevitable".


    Labour MP Stuart Bell asks why the UK didn't help with the Greek bailout if we care so much about the rest of Europe. Mr Cameron says he can't possibly agree that giving money to Greece would have been the right thing to do - but Ireland is a special case so the UK did help there.


    The speaker is repeatedly appealing for brevity from MPs asking questions.

    1616: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Laughter not confined to Labour benches when the PM says he is grateful for the support of Bill Cash -one of the Conservatives best known Euroscpetics.


    Another Tory Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin says he wants to remind the Labour benches - and the BBC - that the prime minister has the support of not just the Conservatives, but the British people.

    Labour MP Richard Burden

    tweets: Impressed by strong @Ed_Miliband response to Cameron over #eu treaty. People saying best EM Commons performance since becoming leader.


    "We have both put aside our interests in the national interest," says Mr Cameron in response to a question about splits within the coalition over Europe. He says Lib Dems and Tories are working together towards the "common good".


    Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, thanks Mr Cameron for displaying the "bulldog spirit" in Brussels last week.


    Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, says Mr Cameron has thrown away the UK's influence from Beijing to Washington. "Never before has so much been thrown away for so little," he says.


    Mr Meacher accuses the PM of acting solely on behalf of the City - but Mr Cameron rejects this picture and turns the tables on Labour, referring to a report on the collapse of Royal Banks of Scotland which today criticised light-touch regulation under the last government.

    Sam in london

    emails: Unfortunately all I can hear when listening to Mr Miliband is the leader of a party who originally gave all these powers away.


    Denis Skinner, Labour, links this current row to the ongoing dispute over public sector pensions. He asks whether is Mr Cameron the same prime minister who has been urging people to stay in meetings and talk? Mr Cameron says at no stage did he walk out of any meetings.


    As a parting shot, Mr Skinner calls Mr Cameron a "plonker", to peels of laughter around the chamber.


    First mention of a referendum - it's taken a while. Mr Cameron says he'd been waiting for that to come up. He says there is not going to be any further transfer of powers to Brussels so a referendum isn't needed.


    Green party leader Caroline Lucas asks why Mr Cameron acts as if the interests of the City are synonymous with the UK's interests which, she says, they are not. In reply, Mr Cameron insists his action wasn't about "special protection" for finance.

    1628: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Some debate in the press gallery as to whether 'plonker' is suitable Parliamentary language.

    1629: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    The first truly critical question from the Lib Dems. Martin Horwood believes the City could be at more risk now.


    Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative, says Mr Cameron's actions are to be "wonderfully commended" and the PM was the toast of his Somerset constituency.


    The prime minister has repeatedly referred to the previous Labour government's handling of financial regulation, which has been criticised in a Financial Services Authority report. You can read more about this in our BBC News website story.

    1632: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Mark Pritchard - the secretary of the Conservatives backbench club the 1922 committee - has a pop at coalition partners the Lib Dems for failing to realise that Euroscepticism is popular. His is followed by a more pointed attack from the Tory benches - Nadine Dorries calls some in Nick Clegg's party "cowardly".

    The Guardian's Michael White

    tweets: #euro Cam keeps saying today's RBS crash report shows Labour failure to regulate. But Cons wanted even less reg at the time


    Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid, Westminster Leader, accuses the prime minister of believing that only one square mile of the UK is important i.e. the City. Mr Cameron says the financial sector affects much more than just that small area - and jobs in many other areas depend. The PM ignores the second element of Mr Llwyd's question - a dig about Nick Clegg.

    1636: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    The few Conservative europhiles have so far been silent, but Nicholas Soames raises - subtly - the concerns of businesses over last week's events in Brussels.


    Labour's Frank Dobson asks about the threat to British banks from a eurozone collapse. Mr Cameron says the government will do all it can to prevent such a collapse.


    Mr Cameron develops his idea, alluded to earlier, that the EU should be viewed as a network rather than a block in response to a question from a fellow Conservative. He says it is right that the UK should want to be part of some networks over others.


    Mr Cameron says that when the UK refused to join the euro everyone feared the City would lose out to Frankfurt - just as they're voicing those sorts of concerns now. "It was scaremongering then and it's scaremongering now," says the PM.


    Speaker John Bercow has had a busy afternoon in which he has repeatedly called for order, brevity and a reduction in noise levels.

    John Bercow
    1640: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    First totally hostile Lib Dem question to the PM - Jo Swinson accuses him of "rushing for the exit" rather than negotiating constructively.


    The prime minister says the same people who wanted to join the euro are the ones who are criticising his decision last week. "It's the same arguments from the same people. They were wrong then and they're wrong now," he tells MPs.


    Clive Efford, Labour, asks something many have asked - what safeguards are in place now for the City that weren't there last week? Mr Cameron says the main safeguard is that the UK didn't sign up for treaty change.

    1643: Nick Robinson Political editor

    The body language of the pro-Europeans on the government front bench is telling. Ken Clarke has spent much of the statement with his arms firmly crossed. Chris Huhne sat with his head tilted back, rarely looking directly at the prime minister. Their obvious discomfort increased as one lifelong Eurosceptic rebel after another - Messrs Redwood, Lilley, Cash, Jenkin and Rossinfell - jumped to their feet to congratulate their leader. The thing about the Europe debate is that it is as much about emotion as it is about analysis. Eurosceptics see a proposal from Brussels and know they want it vetoed. Pro-Europeans look at Eurosceptics applauding the PM and know they're opposed to what he did.


    There are possibilities and opportunities for rebalancing power in Europe, says Mr Cameron. It's not "repatriation", but it is one "re" word to offer some comfort to Conservative Eurosceptics.


    Stewart Hosie, of the SNP, asks how the prime minister will explain to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast that adopting an "isolationist policy" is anything other than "dangerous". In his response, Mr Cameron says his government has worked hard to work with other administrations.

    1646: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    PM says anti-EU MP Philip Davies' denunciation of the Conservatives' coalition partners as '"lickspittle euro fanatics" goes "a little too far". So they're all getting on famously, then...


    Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall, says many in her party, as in the country, agreed with the decision taken by the prime minister, as many sat around her shake their heads.


    "I'm afraid that 'I told you so' isn't an economic policy," says the PM, to a question about whether he'll point out the inevitability of the eurozone crisis to his European colleagues. Mr Cameron says the UK should instead be "working constructively".

    1649: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    First supportive comment for the PM from the Labour benches by Kate Hoey, which underlines the fact that there are Eurosceptics on the oppositon benches too.


    Here's a glimpse of what can face you across the divide in the Commons.

    David Cameron

    A recurring gag from Tory Peter Bone - who always brings up his wife. Mrs Bone greatly approves of the veto, the MP says. Mr Cameron says he's grateful for her support.

    Jordan Morrissey

    tweets: I disagree with Cam's decision to veto, but criticism from Labour is undue. He said he wouldn't sign if he couldn't agree and he didnt #euro


    "There has been an empty seat at the table ever since we didn't join the euro," says Conservative Gavin Barwell. Mr Cameron says he's agrees that's what fundamentally changed the UK's relations with Europe - not last week's veto.


    Labour's Wayne David asks whether it's true that the deputy prime minister is not in the chamber because he didn't want to be a distraction. He doesn't get a direct reply.


    Lib Dem Greg Mulholland asks about the strength of the coalition - Mr Cameron thanks him for his question and says the coalition is strong and united in the need to get the UK growing again.

    1655: Nick Robinson Political editor

    In response to Labour MPs shouting at the prime minister, "where's Clegg?" Tory MPs shouted at the Labour leader, "Would you have signed?" Ed Miliband did not give his answer but his aides just have. It's "No". The longer answer, they say, is that Miliband would have stayed in the room and negotiated a better deal.


    Labour MP Barry Sheerman asks whether the manufacturing sector and other services will be defended in the same way as financial services. Mr Cameron says the key is the single market and that is what the government is determined to safeguard.


    Does the prime minister know the whereabouts of the deputy prime minister and will their tiff lead to a split, Labour's Chris Ruane asks. The reply is one word: "No". But was that no to the first or the second element of the question? Or both?


    Gregg McClymont, Labour, asks whether the veto will impact badly on jobs and businesses in the UK. Mr Cameron says he can reassure the House that it won't - and lists why the UK is still a much better bet for investors that other EU countries.


    Yet another Labour MP - this time Kevin Brennan - asks where Nick Clegg is. A slightly exasperated prime minister says: "I'm not responsible for his whereabouts but I'm sure he's working very hard." His words are greeted with laughter.


    David Cameron and George Osborne were not too impressed by one of the Labour leader's comments.

    David Cameron, centre, with George Osborne, right and Sir George Young, left

    Liberal Democrat Bob Russell offers some "grandfatherly advice", urging the prime minister not to adopt the "Carlos Tevez approach" to negotiation. The prime minister says he will give some thought to the advice, which alludes to the Manchester City striker who has walked away from his team.


    A Conservative MP says he's heard from aides outside the Commons that Ed Miliband's position is that he wouldn't have signed the EU treaty. The camera cuts to Mr Miliband who seems to look puzzled. The Speaker declines to give the Labour leader the opportunity to come back to the dispatch box and clarify.

    1709: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    It is now clear that Nick Clegg's non-appearance will dominate the coverage of this statement. After yet another question from the Labour benches an exasperated prime minister says he is not responsible for his whereabouts but once again makes it clear that Nick Clegg signed up to the negotiating position. It looks like Mr Clegg has possibly caused rather than avoided a distraction.


    Another mention of Mr Miliband's aides - who have told the BBC and other members of the press that the Labour leader also would not have signed the treaty. This time when the camera turns to Mr Miliband he is impassive - arms folded.

    Miles Bett in Massachusetts, US

    emails: As a Briton abroad, as well as a student, there is a growing sense of displeasure and detachment being felt towards the powers that be. I feel as though there is a growing divide between what many feel needs to be done and what the government thinks. Britain needs Europe, now more than ever, and it is foolish that this "go it alone" mentality is clearly winning out.

    1712: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    Conservative Backbencher Ann Main asks the referendum question but is brushed aside by David Cameron.


    Alex Cunningham, Labour, wants to know what Mr Cameron will be doing on his days off when other EU leaders are working on the future of Europe. The prime minister says he will be trying to sort out "the mess" he inherited from the previous Labour government.


    "Despite reports to the contrary I'm still on extremely good terms with my friend Nicolas Sarkozy," says the PM. He won't be drawn on any discussion of the imminent French presidential election.


    The prime minister says Labour are "tweeting, blogging and poking for all they're worth but they don't have a policy". He says the opposition still haven't said where they stand.


    Conservative Robert Buckland says he's long supported the UK's membership of the EU - but still agrees that Mr Cameron made the right decision last week.


    Ian Austin, Labour MP for Dudley North, tries to make a reference to Nazi uniforms but is cut short by the Speaker who says he can "use other methods" to make his point. It comes after a Conservative MP apologised following reports he attended a stag party where Nazi slogans were chanted. The issue of Nazi fancy dress is addressed in today's BBC Magazine.


    With that, the PM's grilling is over. The Speaker says 101 backbenchers have had the chance to question the PM in 88 minutes.


    On his absence from the PM's statement, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he did not think people "cared that much who sits where in the House of Commons". "I would have been a distraction if I was there," he says, adding: "The prime minister and I clearly do not agree on the outcome of the summit last week." However, he insists that the coalition was "here to stay" until 2015.


    Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, a pro-European Conservative whose views on Europe have been at odds with others in his party in the past, says he was "reassured" by the prime minister's statement and that the government's policy on Europe remains the same.


    Asked whether he agrees with Nick Clegg that it was a bad deal for the UK, the justice secretary says it was a "disappointing outcome". But Mr Clarke stops short of saying that it was bad for Britain. French President Nicolas Sarkozy could have been flexible on the requests made by the UK, he adds.

    1740: Nick Robinson Political editor

    There was a Lib Dem critic of the deal during the Commons exchanges - in code at least. Jo Swinson, Vince Cable's parliamentary aide, said: "Against the odds an excellent deal on climate change was achieved in Durban this weekend with the UK playing a leading role alongside our EU counterparts. Would the PM reflect whether that kind of constructive and positive diplomacy might be a better approach to securing British interests than rushing for the exit?"

    And from the Prime Minister there was a little dig back: "I certainly agree that the Durban outcome is a worthwhile one, and it's a staging post towards another global deal and that's very worthwhile, but I'm afraid I don't see any contradiction between being incredibly positive and constructive, but also having a bottom line. And when you have a bottom line it's quite important that you stick to it."


    Mr Clegg says there are many issues on which parties in a coalition will differ. He says isolation in Europe is bad for jobs, growth and livelihoods. He also denies there was any inconsistency in his initial response to the prime minister's actions and comments he made over the weekend in which he expressed his disappointment at the outcome for the UK.

    Nick Clegg
    1749: Fergus Clarke in London

    tweets: #Clegg disappearance from Commons unimpressive. I voted for the guy and agree with him on #EU treaty but absence can never be #leadership.


    What would Labour have done? The prime minister posed the question on a number of occasions in the Commons this afternoon. When asked this question in a BBC interview, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander says his party would have "got a better deal" having taken a different approach prior to the summit and during the talks. Mr Alexander says he suspects the prime minister did not go to Brussels seeking a deal and accuses Mr Cameron of "following his party, not leading it" where Europe is concerned.


    So how are newspapers headlining the David Cameron statement? The Daily Telegraph and the Independent both focus on the deputy PM's absence from the Commons, as does the Daily Mail whose website's headline is The Incredible Sulk. The Guardian's headline is that the veto was 'right' for the UK. The International Herald Tribune headline is Cameron Defends Europe Treaty Veto. The French newspaper Le Monde's headline is "David Cameron defend au Parlement son refus d'un nouveau traite" before adding that the absence of his deputy was much remarked upon.


    We're wrapping up our text updates now. Thanks for joining us and sending in your views. You can follow all the latest news and add your views on our news story , with more reaction on the BBC News channel throughout the evening and on BBC2's Newsnight from 10.30pm.


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