Stories in two newspapers this morning suggest that two so-called Eurosceptics will not in the end campaign to leave the EU. The Express claims Boris held talks with Tory MPs about leading the Leave campaign but turned the role down. They quote him as saying: “The trouble is, I am not an outer”.
“He used to be a prominent Eurosceptic (indeed, his scepticism was one of the reasons he was appointed). Now he is mid-restyle. Having sensed that his own political survival may be in peril unless he sucks up to 10 Downing Street, he is turning himself into a Europhile… The Hammond of old is quickly being replaced by a Hammond who gives Europe the benefit of the doubt, a Hammond who is striving to keep Britain IN the European Union, a Hammond who with a superior lifting of the eyebrows, a tone of settled worldliness, asserts that he finds EU-sceptic position options to be unappealing. ‘Doesn’t look like a good plan to me,’ he murmured yesterday, perhaps a mite too ostentatiously, after hearing someone mention Norway’s position outside the EU. Equating Britain to Norway is a worn Europhile tactic.”
Looking at Guido’s guide to Cabinet Eurosceptics, the only three who seem dead certs to campaign to Leave are IDS, Grayling and Theresa Villers. May, Gove and Saj are all on the fence, and Cameron’s new rules gagging ministers from making pronouncements on Europe until the renegotiation is complete mean that isn’t going to change any time soon. Where is the X-it Factor?