AYLESBURY MP David Lidington says he has experienced one of the most ‘hectic and memorable’ weeks of his career following the fall-out over Britain’s European veto.
Mr Lidington, who is minister for Europe, has appeared on countless television news programmes speaking on the government’s behalf regarding David Cameron’s controversial decision to veto a new European treaty at a summit last week. The MP did not accompany the Prime Minister in Brussels, where the UK refused to back regulations which it said would put the country’s financial services at risk.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Lidington said: “I got a phone call from Number 10 on Friday morning when the summit was coming to an end – I had exchanged texts with people on the Prime Minister’s team as to what was going on there. Number 10 asked if I could do the Friday evening media so I made sure I got briefed on what had actually happened at the summit. I did the media round at the Millbank Studios in Westminster then I went to the BBC Television Centre to do Newsnight.”
Mr Lidington was also busy being interviewed on Saturday.
But he said: “I did tell Number 10 I couldn’t do media on Sunday morning as I was taking my son and two of his teammates to Aylesbury Rugby Club under 17s. I was trying to watch the match and my mobile phone kept ringing!”
On Monday he sat on the front bench in the House of Commons as Mr Cameron explained his actions to parliament. In the evening he did another round of media interviews, including on Channel Four News with presenter Jon Snow.
“I thought his questions were going to be a bit more probing than asking about my tie,” Mr Lidington joked.
He said he does not expect ministers from other European countries to be hostile towards him.
“You get on with people in civilised fashion even if you end up in disagreement.
“I don’t think there’s any animosity on anybody’s part.”
Despite Europe now dominating headlines, Mr Lidington stood by comments made in October that EU membership was not an important issue to his constituents.
“Europe has got more salience now than for a long time but I think what people are concerned about is what the impact of events in Europe has on jobs in our country. They see it through that prism. When I look at my constituency postbag there’s not a large amount of letters about Europe.”
He described his ministerial role as both ‘varied and stimulating’.
“I have just been spending two hours giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee about Turkey, so you just have to switch issues. Then this evening the Democratic Unionists are having a debate on Europe and I’m speaking at that, so it’s back to the Eurozone again.”