Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Flint Flops Over In/Out Referendum

Shadow Climate Change Secretary Caroline Flint had an unadulterated nightmare on the Daily Politics this afternoon. Here’s what she said before Ed’s ‘no’ shocker:

I can’t tell you what the situation is going to be at the next election, two and half years before when there are these changes going on in Europe.

And after Ed’s PMQs bombshell:

Andrew Neil : So we will go into the 2015 election with the Conservatives promising an in/out referendum and Labour not?

Caroline Flint: As it stands today that is correct.

Roll on the next four years…

Vid via @LiarPoliticians

Ex-Young Tory Chairman Quits Barclays Over Shredding Scandal

A great tale of scandal, intimidation and cover-up in the papers this weekend. Senior Barclays bigwig Andrew Tinney has resigned in disgrace after it was revealed he shredded a damning report accusing bosses of bullying. He then told the bank’s chief executive the report never existed. But just who is Andrew Tinney? Back in the eighties he was a rabble-rousing right-wing activist who became Chairman of the Young Conservatives, much to the chagrin of one Nick Robinson. A culture of fear, untruths and incompetence – you can take the boy out of the Tory youth-wing…

Joe Watts to the Standard

Joe Watts, regional lobby hack for the Eastern Daily Press, has got the call up the Evening Standard’s politics team. Swapping Norfolk for the crack of dawn.

Regular readers may remember Joe’s online incarnation LobbyDogCongratulations.

What Loyal Tories Used to Say about In/Out

The airwaves are awash today with loyal Tories backing the PM and his speech. Though take a look at what they were saying on the 24 October 2011 when Cameron whipped his MPs against a non-binding motion urging the government to take up an In/Out Referendum:

Mrs Angie Bray:
Does my hon. Friend accept that although the country is undoubtedly interested in all matters EU, it is probably more interested in issues such as growth and jobs? Does he also accept that a referendum at this time would simply create uncertainty, which would hardly be conducive to attracting the foreign investors that we need to help with growth and jobs?

Mr Glyn Davies:
I think that to have a debate on a referendum would be a huge mistake while we in Britain must deal with huge financial and economic issues, along with another massive issue—the social dislocation felt by so many of our young people. A referendum on our future relationship

Mr Aidan Burley:
I must consider the impact that passing this motion would have on my constituents. That is the key point. Business men have told me that there are signs that give cause for optimism, but that the recovery is fragile. Those business men’s fear, and mine, is that the announcement of a referendum, involving the campaign extending to 2013 for which the motion calls, could have a devastating effect on business confidence and investment. This morning I spoke to a business man from my constituency who had come here to be given a tour of the House of Commons. He works for an international company in the private sector which has invested heavily in the United Kingdom and employs several hundred people in my constituency, and he has already been told by the members of his executive board in America that the potential further instability caused by a referendum could cause them to question future investment not just in Cannock Chase, but in the United Kingdom and the whole of Europe. At a time when business is crying out for stability, a referendum would move it in totally the opposite direction, creating yet more instability when what we need is foreign investment. While that business man would not oppose a referendum in principle, now is simply not the time for one.

Today: “Promise of an In/Out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will be welcomed across Cannock Chase today.”

Mr Robert Walter:
The world has shrunk. More than ever, we travel, we trade and we live in each other’s countries. In 1972, this House voted not only to be part of that common European future but to be an architect of its destiny as a full member of the European Community. The European Union is not a perfect form of government, but neither are the British Government, any Department of State or any local government. If that were the case, we would not be here; we would all be wasting our time. Europe needs Britain and Britain needs Europe. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary struck the right note earlier. We are in Europe, our history is European and our destiny is European. As far as I am concerned, we are here to stay and I beg my colleagues to reject the motion

Mr Tony Baldry:
Will the Prime Minister confirm that, at the last general election, the Conservative manifesto committed us to seeking to return powers from Europe on economic and social policy, but that nowhere did it contain a commitment to seek an in/out referendum or to seek to renegotiate our terms of membership of the European Union?

Mr Jake Berry:
I take this opportunity to put on record the fact that we must have a fundamental renegotiation of our relationship with Europe, but we do not live in a bubble, and we must pay attention to the crisis in the eurozone and to politics in our own country. The crisis in the eurozone is like a spark in Pudding lane. If we do not continue to support member states in supporting the euro and in sorting out the Greek problem, the fire will rip through the City of London and our entire economy. A vote today to put in doubt our membership of the EU for up to 18 months would fuel market speculation, fatally wound the eurozone and its economies, and have exactly the same effect here in the UK.

Today: “Nick Clegg promised an in out referendum at the election. What’s changed mind? #UnitedConservativeParty”

Ms. Charlotte Leslie:
The motion is tragically timed, because it pits against each other the equally valid causes of ensuring that security and stability are maintained during a great euro crisis that will affect us here in the United Kingdom—even the discussion of a referendum on leaving the European Union will contribute to that instability—and giving the people the voice that they have been denied for so long in the determination of our role in Europe. It is a shame that that conflict has arisen today, but it makes our referendum lock and the conditions surrounding it all the more important.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind:
I say to the House that we cannot constrain the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister in the incredibly difficult negotiations that will take place. To have a debate that might lead to a referendum on whether Britain will remain in the European Union or leave it entirely is such a massive distraction from the real concerns that this country and the rest of Europe have to address. [ Interruption. ] I am sorry, but I am entitled to my view, just as all my hon. Friends are entitled to theirs.

Guido never forgets.

+ + + Ed Miliband Says No to Referendum + + +

PMQs Live: Five Years Time Edition

Andy Burnham’s PPS Apologises for Cam NHS Genocide Smear

Quote of the Day

Cameron’s Letter to Tory MPs Post-Speech

Unemployment Down to 7.7%

Fun for PMQs but Downing Street must not get too cocky before Friday’s GDP numbers.


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