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Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Clegg warning on UK/EU 'uncertainty'

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The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned against a "prolonged period of uncertainty" about the UK's relationship with the EU.

Speaking to Today programme presenter Justin Webb, Mr Clegg said the coalition had already legislated for a referendum if powers were to be transferred from Britain to Brussels: 'I don't think it's wise to add to that with a degree of uncertainty which will have a chilling effect on jobs and growth' - jobs were more important than an 'arcane debate'

He also questioned whether a referendum would be necessary, saying his understanding was that the PM would link renegotiation and a referendum to a new treaty and: 'the eurozone is changing- we don't know how that will manifest itself -we don't know if there is a new treaty -we don't know if that new treaty becomes reality that it will ask new things of the United Kingdom' and that David Cameron doesn't support 'a referendum out of nowhere.'

"In the meantime, we need to give the British people reassurance that if there is a new treaty and if it asks new things of the United Kingdom, in other words a transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels, then of course we should have a referendum at that point.

"The Eurozone is changing, we do not know yet how that will manifest itself. We should be very careful, at a time when the British economy is still recovering from the worst economic shock in a generation, to create a prolonged period of uncertainty."


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