Coffee House

Why fall for Cameron’s cast-iron EU pledges?

23 January 2013

Tory MPs have fallen for David Cameron’s cast-iron pledges to hold a referendum before. So are they right in buying into his latest promise?

Labour is trying to expose cracks in the pledge to re-negotiate our relationship with the EU, then hold a plebiscite mid-way through the next Parliament, if the Tories win the election.

But Ed Miliband rather misses the point when he asks Mr Cameron at PMQs whether he might later change his pledge to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote. Surely, the problem is not that Cameron could change his mind and campaign for a ‘no’ vote.


The problem is that Cameron could try to re-negotiate with the EU, fail to secure his demands on one or more key points, and then claim that the failure to claw back powers from Brussels means that there is no longer a valid call for a referendum until that negotiation is complete.

It could then be in the long grass yet again as vague promises are made about continuing negotiations.

Cameron has form on evolving his cast-iron pledges as he goes along. He promised in opposition to allow the British people a vote on the EU Constitution, then when it morphed into the Lisbon Treaty, and was ratified, he said rather legalistically that this meant a referendum was no longer possible or relevant. Then he promised that there would be no new ceding of powers to Brussels – and once the Coalition was formed that pledge was broken as well.

I hope the initial confidence being shown by eurosceptic Tories about his latest promise proves founded.

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  • Boudicca_Icenii

    I would bet good money that Cameron will NEVER hold an In/Out EU Referendum. It certainly will never be a free and fair one. He blatently lies for a start – his speech yesterday was riddled with untruths and the biggest lie of all – that the Norway option means Government by fax’ which Dr North at EU Referendum has completely debunked, yet the MSM completely ignore.

  • cyllan2

    don ,t he is a lier like the others

  • Anthony Makara

    Of course this is all about getting through the next general election. There will be no bona fide in/out referendum, the public will be offered something far different, if the idea isn’t dropped altogether all those years from now. If the Prime Minister was serious about this he would offer a referendum before the next election. The fact that it’s a number of years away all goes to show this is no genuine offer. I’m no supporter of UKIP but I do want to see an in/out vote, mainly because an entire generation has yet to give the EU project a mandate. I don’t think UKIP voters will fall for this political trick. David Cameron broke promises over Lisbon. he will do so again. Once bitten, twice shy. i don’t trust people who tell lies.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You don’t trust people who tell lies? What n extraordinary thing to say. Have you never told lies yourself? The great and good Maggie lied like a trooper over the Belgrano, and quite right too. Show me a politician who has never told a lie and I will show you one who has never had, and who will never sniff power. Some lily-livered Liberal Democrat perhaps.

  • In2minds

    Ferrous man cannot be trusted

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, cast iron is a quite brittle material, as we see here.

  • Richard Calhoun

    Surely the point is they Tories have no choice but to accept his cast iron guarantee unless they are prepared to throw down the gauntlet.
    To date they have never had the courage to do this and I doubt they will this time

    • HooksLaw

      Ha what dreamland are you living in – the conservatives are proposing a referendum,. But hey you are so programmed to scream blue murder at every utterance you refuse to recognise it.

      The only way this referendum will not happen is if we have a labour or a Lab/LD govt after the next general election.

      • Mycroft

        Yes, it is just idiotic that Cameron could possibly renege on this promise; it will, moreover, be a central plank in the Conservative election manifesto. I sometimes think the right are a lot of lemmings like the left in the Thatcher era.


    By the time Cameron calls a referendum, the Poles, Bulgarians, and others will be in sufficient numbers to swing the result in favour of staying within the Union.

    • telemachus

      and as posted on other threads we will be a great deal more prosperous as a result


        Your proof?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Yes those shanty towns, NHS queues and the benefits bill are really going to make us prosperous. Happy too. I can hardly wait.

        • dalai guevara

          you forgot to include the ‘UKIP scenario': still zero representation in the house come 2015. Oh, how our ‘mother of all Parliaments’ is such great institution to adequately represent the will of the people…

    • Ron Todd

      That is a good point, if we ever have a referendum exactly who will be entiteled to vote?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Why fall for Cameron’s cast-iron EU pledges?


    Hey, why WOULDN’T they fall for them? They always do, don’t they?

    I mean, can you really blame the Cameroons for sticking that carrot out there again? That shriveled up old carrot, bug ridden and rat-nibbled? It’s worked before, so why wouldn’t it work again?

    It’s the perfect scam. You sell the guy the same worthless pile you sold him last time. It’s the grifter’s dream. You just have to find the “some of the people who can be fooled ALL of the time”.

  • HooksLaw

    Good to see The Spectator spreading lies

    • Noa

      Which is what Cameron’s ‘promises’ are. And they are believed only by the foolish and the credulous.

      • HooksLaw

        No you are just living a pretence.

        • Noa

          You prove my point, Hooky.

    • realfish

      Well said Hooks. I think that Ms Kite should go away and do her homework. It’s not difficult to establish what Cameron actually promised.

      It’s really disappointing that the biggest lie in British politics (Farage has just been at it again on Newsnight) is repeated by someone who no doubt considers herself to be a serious journalist.

      The interweb is littered with ‘quotes’ manipulating and misrepresenting what Cameron really said; with videos of Cameron, cleverly edited, the aim simply to mislead.

      Sad then that Kite has signed up to the big lie. Perhaps, in reparation, she ought to undertake a bit of proper journalism and nail the dissemblers.

  • Daniel Maris

    Yep, you got it in one Melissa, although that does flatter Cameron with a degree of farsightedness that he probably doesn’t possess. His main determination is that he kick this far enough forwards so he can have a year or two as a real Tory PM – rather than a coalition Tory PM – before bowing out. His successor can then more easily renege on the promise.

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