Cameron Rebuffs Major’s Suggestion of Appointing EU Negotiator

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron rebuffed a suggestion by his Tory predecessor John Major that he appoint a personal negotiator to the European Union as part of his effort to change Britain’s relationship with the bloc.

Major made the suggestion in a Feb. 14 speech, saying the person appointed should get a seat in the cabinet. Cameron was asked about it by reporters on Dec. 3 during a visit to Shanghai. He replied in comments that were embargoed until today that Foreign Secretary William Hague was doing the job very well.

“I’ve got in William Hague and his team probably one of the most expert groups of people I could have,” Cameron said. “It’s work done between the chancellor, prime minister and foreign secretary, absolutely working as a team on this issue because it’s so important for the future of our country. I’m satisfied with the way it’s going.”

Splits with his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, over his policy of renegotiating EU membership before holding a referendum in 2017 mean Cameron has had to sidestep British diplomats, instead encouraging his own lawmakers to promote his most ambitious foreign-policy initiative.

“I think we’re making good progress,” Cameron said. “A lot of people said: ‘You won’t get any support amongst European countries for this agenda.’ In fact I think, actually, if you read what a number of my colleagues have said, there’s an understanding for what Britain is trying to achieve not just for herself but for the whole European Union. So I’m satisfied.”

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