No formal request has yet been made by Portugal despite the reports put out by the BBC. The whole issue is subject to a future Ecofin meeting and Britain remains exposed to up to £4.4bn under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism agreement entered into by Alistair Darling and agreed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The European Scrutiny Committee has stated that this arrangement is “legally unsound” – and in this context, there is no legal basis on which the UK can contribute towards the Portuguese financial problem.
There are ample funds under the “Facility”. The BBC is asserting to the country at large that arrangements will be made as between the eurozone countries but this is not a settled policy and Britain remains exposed to £4.4bn, to which it should not be committed. And in any event in these times of austerity, the eurozone should look after itself without any British contribution whatsoever.