Cameron and Clegg
David Cameron’s Tories and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats are divided over the European Union. POOL News / Reuters

Senior Tories and Liberal Democrats are desperately grasping at strands holding the coalition's tattered fabric together after it was ripped apart by a serious disagreement over Europe.

At the crunch European Union summit on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron wielded his veto to prevent changes to the Lisbon treaty that he argues are "not in the national interest" and would damage the City of London's dominance in the global financial market.

This left the EU-friendly Lib Dems aghast as Britain became sidelined in the EU, when every other member state agreed in principle to a new treaty.

If ratified, it would leave Britain outside of decision-making in the EU.

Eurosceptics in the Tory party were delighted at Cameron's handling of the summit and see it as a catalyst to an eventual full withdrawal from the EU.

Both parties are trying to put a brave face on their falling out to maintain the image of unity.

As the two parties try to rebuild burnt bridges in the biggest threat to the coalition's survival yet, International Business Times UK highlights the gap in opinion between some of the senior figures in the two parties.

Nick Clegg, Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister

From a 2008 interview with the Guardian: "We are an avowedly pro-European political party; it's one of the things that singles us out from the Conservative party and the Labour party."

To the BBC's Andrew Marr on Cameron's stance at the EU summit: "I don't think that's good for jobs, in the City or elsewhere. I don't think it's good for growth or for families up and down the country."

William Hague, Conservative and Foreign Secretary

On moving away from the EU: "It's true of the euro, it could be true of more areas in future. In fact we may get ahead as a result of being outside."

Danny Alexander, Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary to the Treasury

On the EU while he campaigned for Britain to join the euro: "The people who are selling the national interest short are the people who want to turn their back on Europe."

Iain Duncan-Smith, Conservative and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

From a 2004 speech outlining his position on the EU: "We will repatriate our fisheries and our foreign aid budget. We will never accept a European army or a common foreign policy. We oppose the single currency not just for the moment, but forever - on principle."

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

"We are a pro-European party. We are proud of it and we need to defend it," Cable said back in 2005.

Owen Paterson, Conservative and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

On the prospect of an in-or-out EU referendum, which Cameron is ruling out: "I think there will have to be one, yes, because I think the pressure would build up. This isn't going to happen immediately because these negotiations are going to take some months. But I think down the road that is inevitable."