DAVID Cameron will be accused of putting his “divided” Conservative Party ahead of the UK by gambling with its future in the European Union.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will use a speech in Edinburgh to insist the UK’s place “should be firmly in” the EU, and his party will “firmly campaign” for this.
While the Prime Minister has not yet set a date for an in/out EU referendum, speculation is mounting that the key ballot could be held in June.
While polls in Scotland show a majority in favour of remaining part of Europe, for the UK as a whole the picture is less clear.
Mr Rennie, who is addressing an audience at the David Hume Institute, will say: “We are now facing the biggest gamble in our country’s recent economic history. By putting his divided party before his country, the Prime Minister is now risking the departure of the UK from the European Union.”
He will tell how Europe has been transformed from a “continent of conflict in previous centuries” to one with free trade, free movement of people, universities that work in partnership, common security and reciprocal health services.
Mr Rennie will say: “Our ancestors who lived through the terrible military conflicts that blighted Europe would look on with incredulity that we should even be considering a departure from this peaceful arrangement.
“Yet, David Cameron thinks it right that Britain should flirt with exit.
“And this at a time of market turmoil with the FTSE 100 hitting a three-year low, military conflict in the Middle East, tension with Russia and economic difficulties in China.
“If ever you needed the evidence that the future prosperity of this country cannot be entrusted to the Conservatives, then look at this gamble and see what it might mean.
“Britain’s place should be firmly in the European Union and that is the outcome that Liberal Democrats will firmly campaign for.”