17 MAY 2011
By Martin Banks | The Parliament
A furious row has erupted over possible plans for the EU to have a permanent seat at the UN security council.
It comes after MEPs voted overwhelmingly at last week's plenary in Strasbourg in favour of a security council seat for the EU.
A spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, denied there were any such plans by the EU.
The spokesman told this website, "There are no plans at all for a seat at the security council. Absolutely not."
However, both UKIP and Tory MEPs insist the vote was the "first step" towards the EU being given a UN seat, possibly at the expense of UK and France.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said, "Why does this matter, you might ask? It is because this is the next step along the road to Britain being deprived of its permanent seat and its voice at the UN security council.
"Lib Dem support for the EU taking an UN security council seat is a gross betrayal of Britain's influence on the global stage.
"Britain was given this seat as a recognition of its influence on the world and its immense sacrifices during WWII. For years I was laughed at when I suggested that the EU wanted to take a UN security council seat, either as an addition member or taking the seats of France and the UK together.
"The Lib Dems have become so wrapped up in creating a greater EU, that they are now willing to compromise British influence. This is a disgraceful act which will in the long-term only weaken British foreign policy."
He added, "The clear logic of that is that the UK and France will have to surrender their permanent seat at the UN and yield it up to the EU.
"So, on great occasions, it will no longer be William Hague sitting there theoretically fighting Britain's corner, but the second-rate used politician the European political class raised from considerable obscurity to be its foreign minister - none other than baroness Ashton."
Meanwhile, UK Liberal deputy Andrew Duff explained why his group voted in favour of last week's report calling for an EU seat.
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