Adair Turner on his evangelism for the €uro…
“I got it wrong”
Adair Turner on his evangelism for the €uro…
“I got it wrong”
Is price on the lastest edition of the German Financial Times trying to tell us something?
Do they know something that we don’t?
Guido speculated yesterday as to what Iain Duncan Smith will do on Monday. He is reportedly lobbying Dave to reduce the Whip to one line, something that Guido, at this stage, fully expects to happen in order to avoid a sizeable walkout. Euroscepticism is at IDS’s core, far more so than any other senior Cabinet Minister, and he’s almost un-sackable in many ways. He’s still in a tight spot here though. Those who suggested that IDS might quietly slip off to his favourite haunt – the Slug and Lettuce – during the vote, have come unstuck. Immediately before the debate on Monday’s order paper is: ”Questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, including Topical Questions.”
As the cold war between Cameron and his party’s conscious rapidly warms up, there is soul searching going on from the Cabinet down to the humble backbencher. One A-lister – George Freeman – was overheard yesterday decrying the fact his association are threatening him with de-selection if he votes against the referendum. Guido will be keeping an eye on whether his careerism, or the people of Norfolk, comes first…
One Junior Minister who instinctively wants to rebel, but will not, said to Guido:
“If I have to resign over this principle how many sacrifices of other principle issues are made in doing so? Monday’s vote is one of frustration, I recognise that, but the revolt will lead to nothing except a loss of influence by those who resign. It’s a battle in which a few may gain notoriety, but it will come at the expense of others and runs the risk of destabilising the coalition when the country can least afford it. So an inconsequential though principled battle is fought but a war lost.”
That seems to some up the feeling of those staying loyal. Sentiments that would not have had to be aired publicly if Cameron had the integrity and balls to make this a free vote…
No.10′s very own little Euro-crisis hasn’t calmed down overnight. Sources close to George Eustice get in touch to say that his amendment hasn’t gone down well with the leadership despite reeking of a stich-up attempt, however there is mistrust on the benches about Eustice none-the-less. As of this morning, the Tory leadership are still unwilling to give any ground, blaming the LibDems, but it’s going to be a long weekend…
The “Britain in Europe” briefing that went out last night from CCHQ to the troops has not gone down well, not least because “Britain in Europe” was the name of 1999 grouping that brought together Blair, Ken Clarke, Helseltine, Heath, Mandy, Charlie Kennedy, Huhne, Hain and Kinnock to try to get us to join the Euro. Accusations of “going native” are two a penny this morning…
Evidence of Dave’s change of heart can be found on Page 5 of the lines to take:
Q: What’s wrong with having a referendum on renegotiating Britain’s relationship with Europe?
Britain’s interest is in being in Europe but not run by Europe. Conservatives are clear that we should get powers back from Britain to Brussels so we don’t need a referendum on that, we just need a Conservative majority government.
The leadership are in a panic flap and it’s showing through sloppiness and stubbornness. They are going out of their way not to make this easy for themselves…
UPDATE: Another wrecking amendment has been launched by Richard Harrington. It’s not getting much support.
This just hit the inboxes of every Tory MP. Eustice was Cameron’s former Press Secretary, so you know it’s from the top:
Many colleagues have asked whether it would be possible to consider amending the current motion on an EU referendum next Monday so that is more closely reflects the views of the majority of the parliamentary party while being consistent with the intention behind the petition we have received. A number of us have submitted the following amended motion which I hope you might consider supporting:
“This House calls upon the Government to publish a White Paper during the next session of parliament setting out the powers and competences that the Government would seek to repatriate from the EU, to commence a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU and to put the outcome of those negotiations to a national referendum.”
In the meeting that we held early in September, there was a strong consensus among colleagues that the EU is now an issue that unites rather than divides Conservatives and that, now we are in government, front benchers and back benchers should work together to deliver a fresh start in our relationship with the EU. This amendment is consistent with the coalition agreement which gave a clear commitment to examine the competences of the EU which a White Paper setting out a renegotiating position would fulfil. The advantage of having a referendum after the renegotiation rather than before is that the public would then be able to judge whether or not the government had succeeded and this would put pressure on the government to negotiate forcefully.
There is no guarantee that this amendment would be called and I should also point out that, despite being consistent with the coalition agreement, it is not yet supported by the government. However, they have given an undertaking to consider their position over the next few days and take on board representations received. I would therefore urge any backbench MPs who feel closer to this motion than the one currently tabled to add their names to it. Likewise, I would urge any front bench MP who would like the opportunity to vote in favour of the motion rather than be ordered to follow Ed Miliband through the voting lobbies to make their views known to the Prime Minister’s office.
Anyone who would like to add their name to the list must do so before 3pm tomorrow (Friday). If you are not in London, please email my office. We will be trying to arrange for someone to table names on behalf of those who are absent. If you want to help and happen to be in London, please let me know.
George Eustice MP
Member of Parliament for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Is that the sound of the long grass rustling…?
The coverage from Libya is obviously eclipsing Westminster, but the In/Out fight is developing. This whole thing is an unnecessary mess for No.10. For better or worse they would have won a free vote with the help of Labour, and time is running out for a wrecking amendment. The weekly Tory whip email says that the three-line is on and No. 10 have said they will sack any PPS who rebels against it. There is talk of an organised resignation pact between the Parliamentary Private Secretaries, but having texted a couple of the more likely candidates, they suggest that they will wait to see what the Prime Minister has to say on Monday. So far only Stewart Jackson, PPS to Owen Paterson, has broken cover:
“Some things are more important than party preferment. The bond of trust with my constituents, the views of people who have had no say on our European policy in any substantive sense for 31 years and I think I owe it to them to give them that say.”
He says he would be disappointed to lose the job. As Guido mentioned earlier, we could even see Ministerial resignations with Nick Herbert’s name being mentioned more than once. It’s worth remembering Willets and Alan Duncan were Maastricht agitators too.
Looking even higher up the ladder, there is open discussion of just what Iain Duncan Smith is going to do. Just two weeks ago he was writing about what a hindrance the EU is to his beloved brief…
The list of Tory rebels welding machine guns to their jeeps and preparing to drive across the desert to Colonel Gaddavei’s compound, is going to reach 100. Guido has had an interesting tip from usually reliable sources: Word is that up to fifteen junior ministers and whips are threatening to break the three-line whip on Monday. There are some very angry voices on the inside, but emphasis is on the “threatening”…
It seems that the leadership are trying to be clever by trailing the prospect of a three-line whip to take the pressure off of voting day. Announcing it today gives time to row back over the weekend in an attempt to make Monday a damp squib. Guido isn’t sure these back-room manoeuvres will work…
It only took twenty-five rebels to derail Major’s government and already nearly triple that number of Tory MPs have agreed to support an EU referendum when it is debated in the House on Monday. Add to that the fifty-seven Liberal Democrat MPs who stood on a pledge to have an In/Out debate. They don’t have a track record of selling out on promises, do they?
Already Dave and co are sweating, and that’s before the growing number of Euro-sceptic union backed Labour MPs are taken into account. Tory careerist types shouldn’t worry too much about toadying – as has been said elsewhere, the leader of the Maastricht rebels ended up becoming the Tory leader. What might get you a pat on the head and a chocolate button from Osborne in the short term, will cost you in the long run...
UPDATE: The LibDems sell out, the news is breaking that they will be three lined whip against the referendum. Have a look at what Clegg said it 2008:
“Nobody in this country under the age of 51 has ever been asked that simple question. That includes half of all MPs. We’ve been signed up to Europe by default: two generations who have never had their say.”
Why’s that Nick?
A debate in Parliament has been scheduled for the October 27, to discuss whether or not to have an In/Out referendum on the EU. Since all three of the major parties sold out on this promise, a remarkable effort has been made by the likes of the cross-party groups such as the People’s Pledge. If the Liverpool Question Time audience a few weeks back that was openly booing the forty million pounds a day we pour down the EU drain, this could be a tense few weeks. Watch and weep as MPs of all colours line up to tell us that they know best and that such decisions should be taken by them, with the help of the infinite wisdom…
Though we all know that Red Ed is grubby statist at heart and painfully pro-European, he is also a shameless opportunist. If he really wanted to make an impact with ordinary, hard-working, sensible voters he should back the calls for the referendum. It would distance himself from lies of Brown and Blair over the issue and the betrayal of “cast iron” Cameron. What does he have to lose?
Resignation from the European Parliament
It was a great pleasure to see you at the Party Conference in Manchester last week.
I am writing to you now to advise you that I shall be resigning my seat in the European parliament effective December 31st this year.
As with any major decision, this is driven by a number of factors. Some might say that it is high time I stood aside for a younger man. For myself, I think that twelve-and-a-half years banging my head against the same brick wall in Brussels is perhaps long enough. And I should certainly like to see more of my three fine grandsons.
But it would be disingenuous to deny that my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party. I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the Coalition, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but on a range of other matters besides.
I will have more to say about this in coming days…
Helmer not joining UKIP suggests that he is fed up with the whole EU structure more than just the Tories losing their way…
UPDATE: Helmer’s place will be taken by Rupert Matthews, who was second on the list in 2009. Guido would be surprised if Helmer was the only Tory MEP not to make it to the next election…
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Andrew Pierce on Ed Balls…
“Porky Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls sweet-talked guests at a fund-raising dinner by saying if he wasn’t a politician, he would be a chef. That’s not surprising, since he was accused of cooking the Treasury books when he was Gordon Brown’s boot boy.”
is there anyone in the world that Tony hasnt screwed in some way?