Sham Tory Europe Bill Back

Here we go again. Having sacked him at the last reshuffle, the luck of the draw means that Dave is going to be very nice about Bob Neill now. The Bromley MP has agreed to take on the Wharton Bill mantel as the highest ranking Tory in the Private Members Bill ballot:

“One of the first votes I ever cast was on EU membership  in the 1970’s . Now as I pick up my bus pass I am getting the chance to work with colleagues to  secure a referendum for the British people. Britain needs a new deal with Europe and the Conservatives have a plan for change in Europe – renegotiate, reform and put the deal to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. Parliament now has the chance to pass my backbench bill and guarantee that the British people have the final say.”

If Cameron had really wanted to lock a referendum into law he could have exercised his authority over the LibDems and put it in the Queen’s Speech last week, forcing the other two parties to vote against it. Nick Clegg is hardly in any position to complain after his Europe-specific drubbing at the ballot box earlier this month. Let the spin begin.

More Want to Leave the EU Than Stay In

President Obama is in Brussels with Dave to tell us how he thinks the British people should be voting. He says Scots should vote no to freedom and that Britain should stay in the EU, haughtily remarking: “I’m sure the people of Britain will make the right decision”. Unfortunately for the President an ITV/ComRes poll out today shows more Britons want to leave the EU than stay in. 42% would vote to leave if there was a referendum tomorrow and just 40% would vote to stay. Sadly Obama didn’t give us his verdict on whether the people of Newark should go for Robert Jenrick or Roger Helmer today…

Poll: Just 8.2% of Europeans Can Name Jean-Claude Juncker

Just 8.2% of EU nationals could name the lofty European Commission presidency candidate Jean-Claude Juncker, a poll conducted by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists has found. 91.8% haven’t got a clue who he is.

Having had the selection process explained to them – that political parties at the European level run candidates for the role – 89.9% said that this should not be the criteria for selection. Just 10.10% supported the process.

Now that’s what you call a mandate…

Stick It Up Your Juncker Latest

The Europhile EU commission presidency hopeful from Luxembourg and scourge of the Prime Minister continues his charm offensive:

Arrogant, conceited and with scant regard for democracy – he sounds like the perfect candidate…

UKIP Spin-Off Predicted Octopus Invasion

Just two months ago UKIP copycat party An Independence From Europe predicted in a campaign video that a giant EU octopus would destroy Britain’s democracy:

Even they could not have known how accurate that prediction would be. This is the scene in Oxford Circus this morning, as a lorry carrying an octopus breaks down and holds up commuters:

They’re coming…

Stop Lansley Operation Underway

As support for Martin Callanan for EU Commissioner grows, enemies of Andrew Lansley are out to stop the Leader of the House beating him to the job. Some argue Lansley is Dave’s preferred candidate and the favourite, though it is noticeable that he is struggling to win the support of the party. One euro-Tory tells Guido:

“Callanan or Lilley for Commissioner. We don’t need a managerial, consensual Europhile like Lidington, Mitchell or Lansley.  This is a key test for how serious the PM is about reform.  A leftist would be unacceptable to the backbenches.”

Isabel Hardman also raises questions about Lansley’s lack of popularity among colleagues from all quarters:

“So why aren’t Tories pleased that their long-serving colleague might be off to Brussels at the end of his career? For once, Eurosceptics and Europhiles are united in their lack of enthusiasm for a candidate, and indeed the entire reported shortlist. One pro-EU MP thinks the proposal “suggests Dave doesn’t have a plan or a vision, except to make life easy”. “What are his qualifications?” moans one Eurosceptic backbencher. “What’s his vision of the European Union? Where is his battle-readiness to fight our corner?” Mr Lansley’s vision for Europe is indeed rather mysterious, which does not bode well.”

Foreign Office minister David Lidington definitely isn’t part of the stop Lansley operation:

Eyebrows have been raised that ConservativeHome seem to be continuing their ancient vendetta against Lanners, accusing him of being unqualified for the post and arguing that it should go to someone who isn’t just one of Dave’s mates. The Mail has been briefed that Callanan is not in the running:

Will the PM break the habit of the lifetime and actually listen to his party?

Callanan Speaks: “I’m Off to Push on Some Doors”

Martin Callanan has stoked speculation about his chances of being the next EU Commissioner. Writing his last piece for ConHome as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Callanan makes his pitch:

“Realistically, governing parties do badly at elections. People are not fully feeling the effects of the economic recovery in their pockets and wage packets. Against that backdrop, to almost beat the main opposition party is a fantastic achievement. In 1999, we won the European elections by a landslide. We all know what happened in 2001. This result was not good for Labour. And for the Liberal Democrats, they proved that they are the Party of ‘IN’ – IN deep s**t…

This might sound odd and even quite concerning, but decisions in the European Parliament are rarely made in the debating chamber, or even in the plenary votes. These days, they are usually made in what’s known as a trilogue – when a selection of MEPs, EU governments and the Commission come together to negotiate on details of specific laws. If you want to defend your interests – that is where it is done. Frankly, we are going to have to work even harder now that our numbers are depleted…

But for me, as they say, one door closes and another opens – so I’m off to push on some doors to see what’s next.”

Could the door be that of the EU Commission…

Callanan Does Not Rule Out EU Commissioner Bid

Martin Callanan, Former Tory MEP and grassroot favourite to be Britain’s next EU commissioner, is being extremely tight lipped about the gig. When Guido asked if he was interested in the job he said “I’m sure you’ll understand but I can’t say anything about it. I cannot comment about this.”

We’ll take that as a yes then.

Callanan for Commissioner

The saddest bit of news for the Tories from Euro results night was Martin Callanan losing his seat. The chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists group is getting a lot of deserved support today. Paul Goodman makes the suggestion[…]

State of the Parties

The results are in, with the exception of Scotland which does not announce until later today. This is the state of the parties this morning:

Here is the BBC’s earthquake warning map:

You can see the results and all the […]

European Election Results

SCOTLAND

SNP: 389,503
Lab: 348,219
Con: 231,330
UKIP: 140,534
Green: 108,305
LD: 95,319

MEPs: Ian Hudghton (SNP)David Martin (Lab)Ian Duncan (Con)Alyn Smith (SNP)Catherine Stihler (Lab)David Coburn (UKIP).

LONDON

Labour: […]

UKIP Top Poll in Newark

Two weeks til the by-election…[…]



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Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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