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Letter to Evening Standard:Cameron risks alienating allies by pandering to UKIP

By pandering to UKIP, Tory waverers and rebellious backbench MPs, David Cameron is alienating the very allies in Europe who are the key to achieving substantial EU reform.

The new European Commission is committed to cutting red tape, boosting trade and expanding the single market to create new jobs, all of which are central aims of the UK. But threatening the principle of freedom of movement, a cherished right enjoyed by millions of Europeans including 2.2 million British citizens who live elsewhere in the EU, only serves to undermine the UK's position in the eyes of its EU partners.

As for the budget top-up being asked of the UK, many other EU countries are being asked to cough up extra cash including the Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. As ever, we need to work together with these countries to challenge this proposal rather than table-thumping and shouting from the sidelines. Instead of constantly treating the UK-EU relationship as a battle between "them and us," Cameron should accept the EU for what it is: a club of 28 interdependent countries with shared interests, goals and values, where real influence relies not on posturing for domestic politics but on building alliances and winning the argument. The UK has a proud history of doing just this; the Tories would do well to remember it.

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