John Redwood’s contribution to the urgent statement on the Eurozone (Contingency Plans), 20 June

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Given that Greece needs a work-out rather than another bail-out, will the British Government go to the International Monetary Fund and the EU and say the following? First, a second bail-out would mean sending good money after bad and should not be done; secondly, we need an urgent conference of all the interested parties to reschedule and re-profile Greek debt in an orderly way to avoid huge systemic damage, while accepting that the problem has already occurred. Greece went bankrupt more than a year ago, but the Ministers of certain countries cannot believe it and are wasting taxpayers’ money on trying to pretend that it has not happened.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Mark Hoban): My right hon. Friend highlights the need for private sector involvement, and he will know that Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy agreed this weekend that there should be voluntary and private sector involvement in resolving the Greek debt. Some very strong accountability is attached to any future financial support for the Greek economy: a tough programme of privatisation, and structural reforms to improve its competitiveness. I emphasise to my right hon. Friend that although it is right that there should be private sector involvement, it is not in our interests for there to be huge turmoil in our largest trading partner, the European Union.


  1. Stephen Almond
    June 21, 2011

    Why didn’t he just say no?

  2. Scottspeig
    June 21, 2011

    So no, he won’t.

    A lacklustre answer if ever – why does it always seem to be the case that if the backbenchers ran the country then we’d all be better off?!?

    Maybe a removal of the whips in the Commons would be a good thing?

    1. BobE
      June 22, 2011

      The whips are the most undemocratic part of our democracy. Whips should be banned ASAP.

  3. English Pensioner
    June 21, 2011

    it is not in our interests for there to be huge turmoil in our largest trading partner, the European Union.
    Following on the Telegraph report
    “Asked whether Britain could afford to help the[Greek] bailout, Mr Cameron said: “I absolutely don’t believe we should. “I don’t believe that we will and I shall be fighting very hard to achieve that at the European Council this week.”

    So far, Cameron has never won a fight with the EU, so it seems that the UK taxpayers will be forced to contribute if the EU instructs us to do so or if our government considers that there is likely to be turmoil!

    Actually, it might be good to have turmoil, there might be some bargains for hard headed businessmen!

    1. Tim
      June 22, 2011

      “………our largest trading partner”. A politician being totally specious as always on the EU. Actually we had a £42 billion trade deficit last year and £262 net deficit over the last 10 years. It costs us £14 billion net contributions this year before the £12.5 billion bailouts, having accepted a 72% rise in our contributions this year and still no reform of the CAP. Our politicians are never honest around the EU and we should get out.

  4. lifelogic
    June 22, 2011

    Even Alastair Darling seems to have finally seen the light on this today. Doubtless Cameron will shortly cave in with the usual – we are just underwriting the debt, we will get the money back with a profit, we are committed to it by the last government, we need stability in the EURO area and Banking system ……….

  5. Chris
    June 22, 2011

    Not at all impressed by Mr Hoban’s comments. I would prefer your expertise and wisdom day, Mr Redwood.

  6. A Brit from Euroland
    July 9, 2011

    What is particularly distressing in this issue of the bankruptcy of Greece is that all that is being done is to use a variety of financial mechanisms to push the affair into the future, as is the tendency for the most irresponsible politicians over all time. The Greek’s interests, in establishing a situation where at some time in the future they will be able to balance their budget, has been put to one site entirely.

    Obviously today is the date they should be selling the family silver, and therefore doing the privatisations. However if Greece is to reestablish itself as a stand alone entity is must become competitive for tourists, and for producers of other goods and services. The Euro “situation” makes this impossible, except if one were to envisage a 30 or 40% decline in average salaries (as a minimum).

    All the financial expertise that the ECB and all the king’s men can muster will not change the facts here. That investors have to accept a very significant hair cut for past imprudent lending is obvious, that Greece has to (temporarily or permanently) exit from the Euro, and have a devaluation (which will be dictated by the markets) of the order of 30% is also obvious.

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