Government sources are very keen to dispel the impression in Westminster that David Cameron’s tough guy act over the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker is a last-minute thing, insisting that the Prime Minister has been involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations for months. Interestingly, they’re still very bullish about the UK’s chances of getting its way, with one government source telling me:
‘We are confident we can stop him, we are confident we can stop this process.’
The expectation is that a package deal will be agreed that involves a figure other than Juncker being appointed president. If this is so, then it will be a big boost for the Prime Minister as it will suggest he does indeed enjoy influence in Europe that can change the seemingly inevitable and that he is capable of lining up allies across the bloc. If not, then the UK will appear to have overreached itself, and will give quite the opposite impression.