Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, yesterday put his name to a motion to try to force the Coalition Government to ensure that British taxpayers would not be liable for any further bailouts of Euro-zone countries.
Although the original motion did not get enough support to pass in the Commons, an amendment to it was voted on and supported, urging the Government to support the aims of the original motion.
The motion required the Government to act on concerns that it is illegal to use the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) to provide support to failing Euro-zone countries. The EFSM was originally set up to provide support to EU countries who have suffered natural disasters or other exceptional circumstances. Using it to bail out failing economies is against the terms of the Treaty of Europe. The original motion also directed the Government to vote against the continued use of the EFSM for these purposes while British taxpayers contributed to it.
The amendment which was passed yesterday instead ‘urges’ the Government to ensure that the EFSM is discussed at the next European meeting and ‘supports’ measures which would set up a Euro-zone-only arrangement, ensuring the UK would not have to contribute to future bail-outs.
Mr Turner said: “I don’t see why hard-pressed British taxpayers, facing tough economic circumstances at home should have to bail out countries who chose to join a single currency we didn’t want. The EU has already got a massive increase in Britain’s net contribution – up 74% on last year – as a result of legislation passed by the previous government. I believe we need to send a very loud and clear message to the EU on these matters, which was why I supported this move.
Mr Turner continued ; “I am naturally disappointed that the motion I put my name to, which would have been binding on the Government, did not get enough votes to be passed. It had support from Conservative and Labour members, and the Democratic Unionist Party, but not enough. The amended motion, was watered down considerably and instead of insisting that the Government takes action, uses words like ‘urges’ and ‘supports’. However it makes it perfectly clear to the Government that the members of the House of Commons overwhelmingly support what myself and my colleagues were trying to do – that is put a stop to the EU being a perpetual drain on our public purse and other EU countries bending the rules to suit themselves.”