Guido has been leaked documents purporting to be Labour’s whipping orders on how Miliband plans to deal with James Wharton’s EU referendum Private Members Bill at the beginning of next month. It’s pretty rough and ready – Labour seem to be ordering their troops to run away.
1. OUR APPROACH
We are not asking colleagues to be in Westminster on Friday 5 July, as if there was a vote Labour will abstain on the Bill at Second Reading. A suggested response will be circulated by the PLP via email shortly.
This is a Tory gimmick, a political stunt and therefore we are suggesting colleagues do not need to be here, unless they are prepared to make a supportive speech on Labour’s position (see below).
The PM has been forced into supporting this Private Members’ Bill because he’s a weak leader and in hoc to his eurosceptic backbenchers. He’s conned his backbenchers into believing that this will become law and we will dismiss this as a political stunt that it is, saying it is quite wrong to use the mechanism of the Private Members’ Bill to bring in a major constitutional measure.
It is quite wrong to commit and legislate now for an in/out referendum which would create four years of uncertainty, putting at risk the national interest by damaging both jobs and the economy.
For these reasons we will not be voting on the Bill at Second Reading.
2. SPEAKING AT SECOND READING
NOTE FOR WHIPS: We will be looking for suitable speakers so that the chamber is not completely empty and if there are those in your group who would be happy to speak and make the points above, then please make a judgement and ask them whether they would be prepared to make a speech on Friday 5 July.
If this is the real line then Guido is sceptical that this is Labour’s best tactic. Ducking the issue through parliamentary jiggery-pokery will not save them from the voters…
More utter madness from the European Parliament. They have cracked down on the insidious labelling of baby milk and food, decreeing that “pictures of infants, or other pictures or text which may idealise the use of such formula” will be banned henceforth. Our own bonkers pen pushers are culpable as well, they had already stopped the use of baby pictures on infant formula for tots younger than six months. Now EU rules say no photos on baby food and milk for the first year.
Olive oil, conkers, baby food: you can’t accuse them of failing to address the burning issues of our time…
The Tories have finally realised that they need to bang on about Europe now UKIP have pushed it up the political agenda. The launch of the all-party Business for Britain campaign was the starting gun for the referendum campaign Cameron is promising for 2017.
Though the LibDems will hate it, the ‘Let Britain Decide’ website will target MPs who are refusing to trust the public with a referendum. Finally we are seeing the Tories utilising their European policy as a strength, it could all have been so different for Ed Miliband…
UPDATE: Few teething problems, possibly CCHQ were a bit unwise to brief out the site before it was ready:
A big poll for Sky News and Survation this morning. Their EU referendum poll is split down the middle with the No vote just shading it. Interestingly the majority say they won’t change their mind, 96% say they either won’t change their mind or that there is just a small chance of them changing their minds. Meaning the 5% up for grabs (2.5% margin of error) will swing it either way. What’s the betting most of them are wavering Yes voters…
As strikes go, they don’t get much more ridiculous than this. Four EU trade unions are telling their members that they have no problem with them turning up for work during Wednesday’s industrial action against threats to jobs in Luxembourg, they just can’t use their computers:
“To support the strike in the Council and the forthcoming in the Commission and to show solidarity with the Inter-Institutional Trade Union Front in Luxembourg, the staff of the European Parliament in Brussels is invited to consider 5 June as a ”NO PC DAY”. Staff can then go to work, but it is strongly urged not to use computers throughout the day.”
Picket lines 2.0…
The President of the European Parliament has kicked off at Cameron. In a interview with Paris Match, Martin Schulz has the cheek to call for more democracy in the EU, while slamming Dave for showing some ankle:
“The first first objective of a prime minister who announces a referendum in 2017, when he has an election in 2015, is elections, not the exiting the EU. He has opened a Pandora’s box for the benefit of ultra-radicals. Out of the EU would be costly for Britain.”
They don’t like it up ‘em.
David Ruffley has been bursting through his shirt to warn Dave he could face a leadership challenge if he doesn’t deal with UKIP in time for next year’s Euro elections, so these numbers won’t make for happy post-holiday reading for the PM. An OpenEurope/ComRes poll has UKIP topping the bill on 27% among those certain to vote in 2014, and still breaking the 20 point mark for the general election. The key number for Dave: two-fifths of Conservative voters from 2010 would vote UKIP in a European election if it were held tomorrow…
The EU have EU-turned:
Yesterday the PM weighed into the daft tale, saying:
“This is exactly the sort of thing that Europe shouldn’t even be discussing. It shouldn’t even be on the table, to force a pun – so to speak. So this shouldn’t even arise. This is exactly the sort of area that the European Union needs to get right out of in my view.”
Well thankfully they have seen the light, but here is another one for Dave to get stuck into…
“Under the new law, it will immediately be illegal to grow, reproduce or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been tested and approved by a new “EU Plant Variety Agency”, who will make a list of approved plants. Moreover, an annual fee must also be paid to the Agency to keep them on the list, and if not paid, they cannot be produced.”
Which means that strictly speaking it is now in breach of EU regulations for schoolboys to swap or sell their conkers to their mates, without paying an annual fee and without conkers being “officially tested and registered”. Bonkers.
The Indy were rather chuffed with their “some of Britain’s most successful and eminent business leaders” having a go at Eurosceptics in their paper this morning. A little dig into who these signatories are should wipe the smile off their faces:
The usual suspects and men of dubious judgement. They might as well have got Huhne to sign it…
See also: Some More “Guilty Men”
Maggie and Mandela | Charles Moore
Mandela was Christ-Like | Peter Oborne
Maggie Personally Donated £20,000 to Mandela Foundation | Bono
Why Environmentalists Should Favour Fracking | CPS
Balls Gag Falls Flat | Asa Bennett
Mandela the Thatcherite | John Pilger
Balls’ Heckling Hypocrisy | Isabel Hardman
Gordon Dinner Raises Just $350 | Trending Central
Labour Need Darling to Replace Balls | Peter Oborne
Osborne Will Have to Push Harder Than This | Fraser Nelson
No, Cameron Did Not Make Hang Mandela Posters | Buzzfeed
Nelson Mandela on Margaret Thatcher, July 1990…
“She is an enemy of apartheid… We have much to thank her for.”