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:
— James Chapman (@jameschappers) May 27, 2014
Will the PM break the habit of the lifetime and actually listen to his party?