Coffee House

Cameron attacked from all sides on Europe

7 December 2011

"playlist=, ident&config_settings_showShareButton=true&uxHighlightColour=0xff0000&config_settings_showUpdatedInFooter=true&config_plugin_fmtjLiveStats_pageType=eav6&config_settings_autoPlay=false&config_settings_showFooter=true&config_settings_showPopoutButton=false&config_settings_showPopoutCta=false&config_settings_addReferrerToPlaylistRequest=true">

David Cameron’s usual insouciance gave way to something approaching shouty panic as Europe dominated exchanges at PMQs. 8 Conservative MPs, all of them hostile to varying degrees, asked
questions about Cameron’s intentions at the Brussels summit on Friday. This may not have surprised him, but the word around the Commons tearooms is that Cameroons are blaming Speaker Bercow
for calling so many antagonistic MPs to their feet. It looked like a co-ordinated attack; and it’s no surprise that an opportunistic Boris has since "">taken to the airwaves renewing his call for a referendum.

Cameron’s article in this morning’s Times may have been intended to quell disaffection by looking
decisive, but it seems to have had the opposite effect. Certainly, it gave Ed Miliband a golden opportunity to exploit Cameron’s retreat over repatriating powers. The Labour leader scored
direct hits, despite his awful jokes and bungled delivery. Cameron was visibly shaken by the appearance of a eurosceptic opponent, especially as the Tory benches fell ominously quiet as the
session progressed. Heaven alone knows why Miliband stopped at only three questions on the subject.

It was a mauling, almost cruel in its unsparing savagery. But Cameron will be thankful that Owen Paterson’s comments to the Spectator on Europe were not raised during the session. Stay
tuned to read those remarks in full.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • ex-Tory Voter

    Principled, Vulture? Owen Paterson (I know who he is because he’s my MP and he’s been out hunting with my local pack) voted against letting us have a referendum on October 24th. I’d hardly call that principled, would you?

  • Andrew Fletcher

    Tory right wing groups – No Turning Back Group, 92 Group and Cornerstone – meeting now in Edward Leigh’s office to put pressure on PM on EU

    #Tory Wars 2

  • Robert Christopher

    normanc December 7th, 2011 1:57pm
    “Cameron must be playing the smartest hand ever – or he’s the most tone deaf PM ever.”

    Hopefully we will have a better idea by Friday evening. The fray is being entered into by some of the big names, so one would think a tipping point is near.
    Hiding a good hand early in the game may be a good tactic, but waiting to use it until after the game has been lost is … … well ….. it might be part of his plan or he might have forgotten what he is there for.

    Or is it double bluff?

  • Chris lancashire

    The oncoming storm: heartily agreed; brain dead, single issue backwoodsmen on the Conservative back benches will let Labour in at the next opportunity. Then try getting the EU issue raised. Just a pity these idiots usually occupy high majority constituencies and are unlikely to suffer personally for their stupidity.

  • Heartless Curmudgeon, – but Romantic

    Boris … more, – much more please! Put to Rights this ailing, wretched, half-witted gang of clowns, and block the escape of the one who will try to slither away yet again.

  • Biggestaspidistra

    I watched it. Arrested development on the Conservative side, Andrew Mitchell nodding away, now fully resembling Harriet Harman. Labour side look increasingly glum and glummer, with Milliband particularly unhinged.

  • Boudicca

    December 7th, 2011 2:56pm

    Well said. Cameron may be able to handle Deadwood, but if he was up against Farage it would be another matter entirely. Which is why we will never see it.

    Cameron will no more stand up for British interests that Heath did. He will do whatever Merkozy demand because he and the CON-elite he represents are more scared of them than they are the British people.

    We must make sure they understand that we will tolerate no more betrayals. We want our country back.

    Vote UKIP – until the Quislings learn that they will NEVER AGAIN win a General Election (or even be the largest party in a Coalition) until we get our Referendum.


    With its inexperience, arrogance of youth and complete disregard for history, these 21st century politicians ignored the most obvious source of hostility towards this ludicrous idea of political and economic union of European nations. It is so obvious and it still hurts.

    Not only were the countries of Europe invaded and destroyed by German military conquest; not only the fact that the Germans brought about the massacres of millions in the most savage manner. But most importantly of all – that these events took place in painful LIVING MEMORY!

  • Publius

    “Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.” –Dolores Ibarruri.

    “Better to live on one’s knees than die on one’s feet” — D Cameron.

  • Pettros

    Cameron was mauled. There is no two-ways about it. And the mauling was from his own benches.

    However it does says a lot that he still probably (just) beat Ed Milliband today. despite being mauled. Ed really is the Tories dream-ticket.

  • Mudplugger

    Mary C

    When opinion polls report that the British voters put Economy, Jobs, Immigration etc at the top of their list of concerns, leaving Europe further down the page, no-one points out that their list is one of symptoms, not causes.
    At the root-cause of our problems with the Economy, Jobs and Immigration etc is the EU in every case – without its interference, influence and restrictions, we would have been free to address all those issues as a sovereign state.
    Without the uncontrollable flood of Eastern European immigrants, we would have jobs aplenty, our schools and hospitals would not be overflowing, our benefits system would not be burdened/corrupted and the money earned here would be spent here, stimulating the economy further. Just one multi-faceted example of how the malign influence of the EU dominates all those allegedly ‘key’ topics.
    Sadly, the polls don’t ask the right questions – or maybe they do to get the answers they want.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘But opinion polls consistently show that the British public does not see EU membership as one of the big issues’

    Only becasue the media and politicians consistently hide the fact that on all the big issues the EU makes laws about them that effect us all. It helps also that the media and politicians also themselves don’t understand all the links.

  • Sir Everard Digby


    No politician is in charge of events -unless they are busy invading other countries as part of a war on ‘terror’

    If you think Cameron’s out of his depth,where does that put Milliband and Balls? Buried in the sediment I guess.

    Soul-selling is a market created by Labour. Most of the national soul was sold off to Europe and George W Bush by honest Tony.

    Not sure how you could recognise a fifth column as they operate clandestinely. If you recognise them,they are not a fifth column any more.

    Better to ask who are the Falangists in the Labour Party – I suggest everyone except Ed.

  • In2minds

    “Cameron’s article may have been intended to quell disaffection by looking decisive, but it seems to have had the opposite effect”.

    Don’t be silly! The PM would not make a simple mistake like that. You make him out to a bloke who does not know his bum from his elbow.

  • Mary C

    But opinion polls consistently show that the British public does not see EU membership as one of the big issues, being far more concerned with jobs and the economy. I should think most people are totally puzzled as to why the Government is dancing round in circles trying to get a few fringe powers repatriated.

  • Verity

    Cameron, who had not even been a major player in the party before he suddenly appeared in the apparel of “Party Leader”, has neither the brains nor moral muscle to be a leader of anything, never mind a great party nor a demoralised country.

    I am baffled that the Tories ever agreed to have him in the Leader slot. David Davis, John Redwood or Patrick Mercer all have what it takes. Dave sees his future at the top table in Bruxelles. I do hope the British deny him this favour.

  • Halcyondaze

    Whatever nonsense you hear from the likes of telemachus and toco, the British people see nothing more than a drowning PR man: the Heir to Blair wriggling and twisting, pinned to the spot by those men of principle who will not let him forget his promises or the country that he is supposed to be fighting for. Outside the Westminster bubble, the people are angry and they want their country back. Out of Europe. Vigorous controls on immigration. The end of the Human Rights bandwagon. And it’s not about to go away no matter how contemptuously they treat us. Just because Cameron can handle the adenoidal half-wit in charge of the Traitor Party doesn’t mean he’s got the principle or the backbone to do what the people want. The sooner we’re rid of him the better.

  • PayDirt

    OK, so he calls a referendum in the next few days and who says the majority of voters will want out of EU? Is Scotland going to vote on this issue separately by the way?

  • michael

    DC having been neatly backed into a corner, sh*t on from great height by his EU ‘allies’ NEEDS a referendum… To veto the treaty is exactly what the do-nowt French/Germans want in order to lay their failures at Britain’s door. They’re relying upon it

  • Cornwall Mike

    Yes Europe is tricky for any serving Prime
    Minister I have confidence in Cameron’s
    ability to negotiate a satisfactory deal for
    UK PLC. As for Milliband he is a political
    pygmy in a giants world

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Those Cameroons must be an effete touchy bunch. Did Berkow inspire the questions as well?

  • Ian Walker

    If Labour, the part of ‘policy by headline’ breaks the truce over Europe, then it will be electoral destruction for the Tories, even with Milliband and Balls at the helm.

    At the moment ‘leaving the EU’ is a policy with nearly 60% public support and no major party advocating it. As land grabs go, it’s quite a biggie.

    Cameron’s never going to get the promised EU sinecure that keeps the truce going – Mandelson, Kinnock and Ashton as examples. He should settle for being a good prime minister of a great country, rather than a despised puppet administrator of a European superstate’s piggy bank.

  • disenfranchised

    david blackburn, you’ve obviously never been close to real panic.
    dave snooty showing something approaching panic? balls.
    his quiff had shaken loose, and his eyes bulged a couple of times, but i didn’t detect even a hint of panic.
    however, i’ve seen panic in the eyes of milibean, on many occasions. the lad is out of his depth, and it shows, continually…..

  • Dennis Churchill

    December 7th, 2011 1:57pm
    Our senior politicians are bought and paid for. It does not matter that this issue will end Cameron’s career he is helpless.
    It suits the USA to have us in the EU.It suits the other members of the EU to have us in the EU.It suits some large business interests to have us in the EU.
    All these interest groups have their agents of influence and will see they earn their money.
    The only people it does not suit for us to be in the EU are the British people which is why we have never had an official cost benefit analyses.

  • Tiberius

    Having not seen PMQs and in the light of the responses in the DT, I find toco’s and telemachus’ posts quite instructive.

    What is this Europe-motivated death wish in so may supposed Tory minds?

  • Vulture

    Despite being a political junkie, I have to admit that Owen Paterson has not crossed my radar before but I have just been Googling and I like what I find.

    > Handsome. check.
    >Principled. check.
    > Faithful to his wife. check.
    > Honest.check.
    >Business experience. check.
    > Like many Eurosceptics speaks two Euro languages (French and German)
    > Fine horseman ( has ridden across Turkmenistan and Mongolia).
    > Competent and hard-working.check.
    > Wins plaudits from right and left-wing Tories and political pundits. check.
    > Historian educated at Cambridge.

    God, he’s even married to Nick Ridley’s daughter!

    What’s not to like?? With Liam Fox discredited and the opportunistic Bozza unable to keep it in his trousers (allegedly) , is this the Standard bearer the Right have been waiting for?

    C’mon Tories – what’s holding you back. Junk the useless Dave and elect Owen Paterson as leader right now!

  • Arthur

    Even Labour have now woken up to the fact that, if they make Europe an issue, then pushing for a referendum is a sure-fire vote winner. The EU and the Euro are in the headlines every day, they can’t claim that it’s a non-issue, or only a minority interest. There are votes there to be got, and power to be lost, by getting this one wrong.

    And our man Dave is on the wrong side of public opinion.

  • Mudplugger

    Cameron deserves a mauling – his untenable position lacks logic or credibility.

    There is no prospect of any repatriation of powers, ever – the EU doesn’t work like that, it’s a mono-directional ‘black hole’, forever sucking all energy into the centre.

    Whatever the outcome of the current Merkozy short-term fudge, the UK’s continuing place within the EU is without any redeeming features.
    There must be a referendum soon and it must be a simple IN/OUT question.
    And once OUT, we can get on with correcting the last, utterly wasted, 40 years since Heath 1 betrayed us all in the first place.

  • The Oncoming Storm

    Sadly some Conservatives havent learned the lesson of the 1990’s, when you fight among yourselves over an issue of minimal interest to the wider public the only winners are Labour.

  • Mycroft

    Labour must be looking on with glee, there they go again, those stupid Tories, tearing themselves apart on Europe!

  • normanc

    Cameron must be playing the smartest hand ever – or he’s the most tone deaf PM ever.

    He must know that the overwhelming groundswell of public opinion is that this is our ‘no mas’ moment but instead of sulking back to the corner and giving up it’s time to stand up and fight for Britain, democracy and liberty.

    When he does do that and announces on Friday evening that he’s starting to prepare for a referendum he’ll be hailed as the second coming and the second term will be in the bag, record borrowing or not.

    Ah well, I can still enjoy my pipe dreams of principled politicians.

  • Fatbloke on tour


    When the end comes, it will come quickly.
    Dave the Rave has the look and feel of NC trying to defend Norway.
    He is in charge of the Commons but not in charge of events.

    It really is true, Mickey Mouse has a Dave the Rave watch.
    Completely out of his depth even when he can be bothered.
    He is so shallow and lightweight he makes Sha**er look like a professional.

    Where next for the Tories?
    Sold their souls to PR and got nothing in return.
    Infiltrated by a 5th column of the nice, the beautiful and the vacuous.

  • toco

    What utter nonesense Mr.Blackburn-all I can say is you must have endured a very disturbed night.Cameron won hands down against the increasingly dysfunctional Red Ed and gave an assured performance.You need to remember the potential collapse of the Euro is far more important in terms of priority than the immediate repatriation of powers-I suggest Mr.Blackburn you have a think and submit a balanced and more thoughtful piece.

  • Publius

    “an opportunistic Boris”

    Or perhaps principled? Is that concept too alien?

  • Rhoda Klapp

    I’m not really seeing why the Speaker ought to prevent the PM being faced with the kind of questions many in the nation are asking.

    Doesn’t Cameron know that when you have lost trust, it takes a lot more than reassurances to get it back?

  • Lonesome Dave

    I must have been listening to a different PMQs, given Mr Blackburn’s observations…

  • telemachus’

    What nonsense
    Cameron did well and unlike Miliband souded like a leader
    I have ultimate faith in his Brussels Trip

  • Bye Bye Cameron

    A word to the wise, Prime Minister – if you have lied to the British People over your promise of a Referendum, be assured that they will have their revenge…

  • Dave B

    Panic is Cameron’s go-to response when things look dicey.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here