PM treating EU renegotiations like ‘soap opera’

Prime Minister David Cameron. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
Prime Minister David Cameron. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
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FORMER cabinet minister Alan Johnson, who will lead Labour’s campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum, has criticised the way David Cameron was attempting to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

The Labour MP, a former trade union leader, said the Prime Minister was handling the government’s attempt to renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership of the EU like a “soap opera”.

Mr Johnson, speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, said: “I think the main issue here is he’s dealing with reform as if it’s an event, whereas it’s a process, it’s a continuous process and as someone who has negotiated most of my adult life, this is not the way to actually negotiate.”

He added: “I hope, I am like, I think, most of the British people, I am not a zealot about Europe, I have a quiet, probably understated view that being in Europe is in our best interests for the future, for our standard of living, for our quality of life, for our future, particularly for young people.

“So, I think most British people when they focus on the arguments here, it won’t be about this soap opera of what the Prime Minister is doing in Europe, it will be about a much longer-term issue, about do we want to be in isolation or do we want to be on the field playing the game?”

On sharing platforms, Mr Johnson said: “I think people who come from different political persuasions but have the same ideals shouldn’t be afraid to share platforms exactly as they did in ‘75.”

Meanwhile, businessman Sir Richard Branson warned that a British exit from the EU would be “catastrophic” as he said that Britons should be “proud” of being Europeans.