11 APR 2011
• Britain set to stump up £4.2bn of £70bn bailout
• Tory eurosceptics demand Parliamentary recall
By Jason Groves and Hugo Duncan | Daily Mail
Ed Balls was accused of shameless ‘opportunism’ last night after he suggested Britain should limit its contribution to the £70billion bailout of Portugal.
In an extraordinary intervention the Shadow Chancellor said the crisis should be dealt with by countries in the euro.
But Mr Balls chose to ignore a deal signed by Alistair Darling last year in the dying days of the Labour government, which could leave the UK facing a bill of anything up to £6billion.
He said: ‘I think this is a crisis of the eurozone and the clear bulk of the financing should come from the eurozone.
‘And what we need to be doing is pressing the eurozone to face up to the nature of the crisis they are going through.’
Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party last night said the ‘ridiculous’ comments underlined Labour’s ‘complete lack of credibility’.
He added: ‘Ed Balls knows full well it was the Labour government who committed the UK to this bailout fund just before they finally left Downing Street.
‘It takes opportunism to new depths of absurdity for Ed Balls to argue the Government should put itself in breach of treaty obligations Labour negotiated.’
The row came as Chancellor George Osborne attended talks in Budapest on the scale of a likely bailout for Portugal.
The package is set to cost £70billion, with the UK to stump up at least £4.2billion.
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