Britain's Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has described the Conservative party as "increasingly Europhobic and isolationist" in an outspoken attack on his coalition colleagues.
Speaking at a dinner in Nottingham in the United Kingdom, Clegg said Conservatives had a "bee in their bonnet about Europe", in comments reported exclusively by PublicService.co.uk
"My own view is that if I was prime minister I'm sure we would be much more committed and positive and try to help them along," he said, referring to eurozone countries hit by the economic crisis.
But instead he spent his time "constantly trying to rein them in from doing what they want to do, which is going around crowing, saying 'ner-ner-ner-ner-ner, we're not in the eurozone', which is their sort of reflex," Clegg said, adding that the behaviour of some Conservatives was "infantile".
"We are in a coalition with a party that has totally different instincts to us on this," he said. The Lib Dems are generally viewed as pro-European while Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has come under pressure from parts of his party to hold a referendum on Britain's European Union membership.
"The modern Conservative Party isn't just Eurosceptic, I think it's becoming increasingly Europhobic and isolationist," said Clegg, himself a former member of the European Parliament.
He added that the eurozone was "massively important" to the UK despite the "increasingly negative" view most people had about it. "It is in our massive interest that they do sort things out and to be supportive," he said.
Clegg also claimed the Conservatives' attitudes towards Europe had a negative impact on the UK's relationship with the United States so "even by the Conservatives' own logic of this whole Atlanticist thing, it makes sense for us to be influential and strong in our own hemisphere".
What utter tripe he talks, he's the one prime ministerial candidate that guaranteed the British public a referendum on membership of the European Union - in the unlikely event that the Liberal Democrats had actually won the last UK general election, so he was misleading us back then was he? What else is he misleading us about to blind us from the truth?
Joe Thorpe - Nottingham, England