POLITICS
25/10/2011 08:38 BST | Updated 25/12/2011 05:12 GMT

David Cameron: I Was Right To Take On Tory Rebels Over Europe Vote

David Cameron has insisted he was right to take on the rebels within his party despite backbench MPs inflicting the biggest ever post-war rebellion on Europe on the government last night.

He told journalists on Tuesday morning: “In politics you have to confront the big issues rather than try and sweep them under the carpet”.

And the prime minister denied any "bad blood" remained between him and his backbenchers, adding: "This has always been a difficult issue for my party: it always will be, but the important thing is to do the right thing for the country, and it wouldn't be right for the country right now to have a great big vote on in/out referendum and all the rest of it. What I would say from last night, there is no, on my part, no bad blood, no rancour, and no bitterness."

His comments came shortly after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg risked re-inflaming coalition tensions over Europe, telling journalists the UK could not change their relationship with the EU "by launching some smash-and-grab dawn raid on Brussels".

And speaking on Tuesday morning, Michael Gove denied the defeat was "a humiliation".

But despite the conciliatory comments of the prime minister and Gove, the UK's relationship with the European Union remains a concern for many backbenchers.

This morning eurosceptic Tory MP Douglas Carswell promised Sky News "there is going to be a new deal with Europe" and urged the prime minister to sack officials who had previously negotiated powers within the EU.

The two junior members of the government, Adam Holloway and Stewart Jackson, who voted in support of the referendum have now officially been sacked, Number 10 said this morning.