Coffee House

PMQs: David Cameron needs to show he has control of EU vote

31 October 2012

At PMQs today, David Cameron will need to go some distance to meet his backbenchers and head off a government defeat tonight on the EU budget. He’ll need to say that he personally would like to see the EU Budget reduced and that if other countries are prepared to agree to that, he’d be delighted. But that the one thing he’ll guarantee is that he’ll veto any real terms increase. He’ll also need to take the fight to Labour on the matter, pointing out how Blair gave up a chunk of the rebate for the vaguest of promises on CAP reform.

Part of the reason that Europe votes keep causing Cameron so much trouble is that Number 10 goes into Maastricht mode every time one comes along. It seems to think that the most important thing to demonstrate is that the Prime Minister is not being pushed around by his backbenchers, with the result that the rebellions tend to grow very rapidly as they are refused any solace.

This latest squall has also illustrated the continuing weakness of the Tory whipping operation. As one Cabinet minister complained to me yesterday, they are ineffective, don’t know the party well enough and all their initiatives — like the Jacob Rees-Mogg amendment or getting George Eustice and Andrea Leadsom out to defend the government — are always at least half a day late.

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Show comments
  • In2minds

    Control, Cameron, what?

  • ScaryBiscuits

    This latest squall has also illustrated the continuing weakness of the Tory whipping operation.
    Well there is only one person to blame for that: Cameron himself. In the last month he has appointed two unpopular chief whips in a row. The first was hated over his Maastrict role by the older backbenchers and for his careerist support for international development by the new intake. The second is about as out-of-touch with modern Britain as you can get. And it’s not just a chief that Cameron needs to understand his party; it’s about time Cameron and his ministers bothered theselves with the concerns of his backbenchers and the constituents they represent.

    • Coffeehousewall

      Whips should be arrested and charged for seeking to interfere with the freedom of an MP to exercise his representative duty. They are no better than blackmailers and bribers. They are, by their nature, anti-democratic, and it needs backbenchers to tell them so to their face.

  • 2trueblue

    Well no real change there. Cameron is not willing to give us a clear idea, or a factual figure of where he is going. Until he makes it clear he will continue to make the case that there is no change.

  • EJ

    Forsyth why do you go on defending the H2B and writing these pieces as if you’re advising the slippery liar on what he should do like you’re some sort of wide-eyed acolyte? What this man needs to do is LISTEN. Listen to his party, listen to the voters, and tell Brussels to get stuffed. But he won’t because he’s a pro-EU Trojan horse who will say and do anything to try and shut us up while he fritters away our sovereignty against our will. The rest of us have seen through him. Why can’t you?

  • Heartless etc.,

    James!! – you do know how to tell a good joke! Keep it up!

  • starfish

    He just needs to do exactly what he says he is going to do

    It would make a refreshing change for this PM

    Alternatively he could continue to drip feed votes to UKIP

  • Vulture

    James, you are wrong: the main reason that Europe votes keep causing Cameron so much trouble is that he’s a Europhile lackey and will do whatever his bosses in Brussels tell him, whereas his party is increasingly Eurosceptic – just like the rest of the country.

    However the Tory MPs still lack the nous to realise what a Euro worm Dave is or the balls to get rid of him. So we’re a bit stuck.

    One thing is however clear: so long as we remain in the EU our politics is poisoned, and our liberties and laws count for nothing. Simon Jenkins in the Guardian today ( of all places – but even the Guardian like the Labour party is waking up to how noxious the EU is) tells it like it is.

    • Douglas Carter

      Superb Guardian article.

      Thanks for the tip.

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