British eurosceptic press jubilant at EU treaty veto

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Britain's eurosceptic press on Saturday hailed David Cameron's decision to veto a new EU treaty to tackle the eurozone debt crisis, but other commentators warned London was now dangerously isolated.

"The Day He Put Britain First" cheered the mass-selling Daily Mail, after the British prime minister blocked Franco-German attempts to enshrine new budget rules into a modified EU treaty during an all-night summit in Brussels.

"Mr Camerons courage and leadership yesterday show that, while desiring a strong relationship with our EU partners, Britain can still control her own destiny," it said in an editorial.

Warning that "the battle is only just beginning", it said: "There is now a wonderful opportunity for Britain gradually to loosen itself from the shackles of a statist, over-regulated, anti-democratic, corrupt EU."

The Daily Express, which has long been campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, was also jubilant, splashing with: "Britain Close to EU Exit".

Top-selling tabloid The Sun joined the approval, putting a picture of Cameron dressed as wartime leader Winston Churchill on its front page with the defiant headline "Up Eurs -- Bulldog PM sticks up for Britain".

The Daily Telegraph, the broadsheet close to Cameron's Conservative party, said the prime minister "stands as lone man of Europe" -- and made clear that this was a good thing.

Its editorial was pessimistic about the impact the measures agreed in Brussels would have on the eurozone debt crisis, but said they had "at long last" forced Britain to begin the process of redefining its ties with the EU.

"The European strategy Britain has pursued for decades has run out of road," the newspaper said, adding: "The core of Europe has embarked on a course we cannot reasonably follow."

However, the left-wing press warned that in refusing to sign up to a "new fiscal compact", apparently alone among the 27 EU states, Cameron had left Britain isolated and weak.

"Cameron cuts UK adrift" headlined The Guardian, accusing the premier of acting not for the good of the country and its valuable financial services industry as he claimed, but to appease Conservative eurosceptics.

"Mr Cameron has left an empty chair that could define Britain's place in the world for years to come," it said in an editorial.

The Independent was equally pessimistic, summing up events with the headline "The EU leaves Britain", and warning that Cameron's veto was "nothing short of a disaster" for the country.

The newspaper conceded the decision may win Cameron votes among a eurosceptic public but said Britain would pay the price in the long term.

"Britain will be in the slow lane, if it is in any lane at all, and without even the limited say on eurozone matters it was able to claim before," it said.

© 2011 AFP

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