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070, licensed to rebel

21 August 2011

9:02 PM

21 August 2011

9:02 PM

It’s no surprise that 70 Tory MPs have formed a Eurosceptic group, as the Sunday
Telegraph reveals today. They are the modernisers now. The
new Tory intake are strikingly robust on all this: by and large, their idea of political balance is a picture of Thatcher on the wall and Jacques Delors on the dartboard. The impending boundary
review and thinner-than-they-expected majorities mean they worry more about their constituency (and constituency associations) than the whips.

But I’m told today that this rebellion isn’t quite as fierce as it may seem. One Tory backbencher tells me the Tory whips have actually encouraged this group to call for renegotiation of the UK
terms of EU membership. The whips are doing this, I’m told, to stave off a greater threat: support for an in-or-out referendum. The latter is gathering momentum, and threatens to tear the coalition
apart. The Lib Dems were only recently in favour of such a referendum, but have since worked out what the likely outcome would be. Having the Tories call for renegotiation is more manageable.
That’s the theory, anyway. As James says, Europe is going to barge its way on to
the political agenda and Cameron won’t like it any more than Major did.

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Show comments
  • Frank Sutton

    Who are these 70 mps – have they been named anywhere?

  • Dennis Churchill

    J Wright
    August 22nd, 2011 3:20pm
    They are absent from the media because the media is controlled by pro-EU factions.
    The Euro nomenklatura won’t starve regardless of the outcome, they will just follow the example of the old Soviet era equivalent and change their party label.
    Like a certain former communist now buying a £4 million house scum rises to the top, it is an iron rule of politics.


    Reasonable question J Wright, but when did you last see a mention of UKIP even in the nominally right of centre Cameron House magazine known as the The Spectator, much less on the BBC.

    Despite the widespread disenchantment with Dave that is so evident on here and on other sites such as ConservativeHome along with vows to vote for UKIP next time, the Cameron courtiers who edit The Speccie are determined not to draw attention to this by even so much as a mention of UKIP much less a piece on the threat to the Cameron Tories’ already non-existent chances at the next GE. Denying the oxygen of publicity is what they term it no doubt.

    Incidentally, I must again point out that I have nowt whatever to do with UKIP and that TGF UKIP stands for Thank God For UKIP for providing this UK elector with a conservative party to vote for.

  • J Wright

    TGF UKIP 2.13
    Why is your party UKIP totally absent from the media when the question of Europe is or should be top of the political agenda. the only lesson to be learned from Europe is that total bloody mindedness gets you what you want, Charles d, G,.Only Complete lunatics would give a Euro to those totally currupt thieving greeks.Only when they are starving on the streets will they learn the basic lesson of economics along with those top brussels officials who knowing the real economic situation in Greece made them members of the euro.Admiral Byng and pour encourage les autre springs t.o mind


    Hands up all those who trust One Continent Cameron on Europe (or on any other issue, for that matter.)

    As for the jellies known as backbench Tory MPs, don’t hold your breath, folks.

  • Dennis Churchill

    August 22nd, 2011 11:07am
    I don’t think many of our political class believe in anything except following fashion in order to gain advantage.
    If the E.U seems about to implode or the cultural Marxism of the Baby Boomers is seen like yesterday’s fashion then Cameron ,like the others, will change.
    The coalition does have advantages for Cameron as he does not have to face a leadership contest while it remains in power but if he sees its collapse as inevitable he will jump ship.
    The public is now looking for signs of a fractured society so things that would have been ignored in the past won’t be now. The costs to the UK of the E.U will also increasingly be compared to the need to increase taxes and cut services and then we have the Human Rights Act never far from the headlines.

  • Vulture


    The last thing Dave wants is an election. Jeez, there might be a Tory Govt in the wake of it and then where would he be?

    He won’t even have a reshuffle and sack Fatty Clarke and Speedo Huhne – so why would he ditch his cosy partnership with nasty Nick?

    Dave is an EU-loving pseudo-Conservative who has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Stupid Party and will continue to do so as long as they let him.

    Despite his best efforts, however, the EU is falling apart before our very eyes.

  • Sean

    I have to agree with Dennis. What more could the PM be waiting for? I don’t think that more favourable conditions for a Tory victory at a general election could be more forthcoming.

    Whether we stay in or leave the EU is irrelevant, but what we do need is a frank and honest debate of the pros and cons at a level the electorate can understand.

    DC wasn’t given the mandate at the last election to govern, but if he leaves it until next May I think he will miss the boat.

    Strike now while the irons hot, or we will be subject to headless chicken politics for a long, long time.

  • Dennis Churchill

    This will be a one term Conservative/LibDem government at the most so Cameron’s only hope is to call a snap election while the electorate are fuming about the riots, Human Rights, the E.U and Open Doors Immigration.
    At the moment the anger is directed at the political class in general so if the Conservatives want to win they need to differentiate themselves from the politically correct consensus and go to the country pretending to share the values of the electorate.
    They need to take the gloves off about the motives behind Labour’s immigration policy and call Andrew Neather to give evidence before a parliamentary committee. They need to insist that any parliamentarian declares a financial interest before speaking on issues to do with the EU, if they receive a pension from it. They need to publish the names of Britons that worked for the Stasi and other Eastern European intelligence agencies so we can see how these were used to influence policy.
    Although Cameron’s reputation has never recovered from his “Cast Iron” guarantee we do need a referendum on the EU after we have an official Cost Benefit analyses to kill off a few myths.

  • disenfranchised

    now that the buffers are in full view, those who decided this country was to become a dystopia must be feeling very satisfied with their work.
    meantime the media continue to report westminster/EU manoeuvrings in time-honoured fashion, even though thinkers/realists know it all to be totally meaningless…..

  • Archie

    Colin: I was called away, and I only read as far as “…he’s already rowing back on the crack”! Perhaps he shouldn’t, might do him the world of good! It’d be a huge improvement, anyway!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘thinner-than-they-expected majorities mean they worry more about their constituency (and constituency associations) than the whips.’

    And so they fking well should. It called democracy. Shame that a Spec editor thinks that representing majority local opinion is evidence of being unbalanced.

  • nonny mouse

    70 MPs agreed to attend a meeting. That does not mean that 70 MPs are forming a new grouping.

    It did not surprise me that the Telegraph failed to see the difference, but I am surprised that the Spectator did too.

  • Ruby Duck

    Not a grown-up amongst them.

  • denis cooper

    If these Tory MPs are serious then they should all vote against the forthcoming Bill to approve this radical treaty change agreed in March:


    of 25 March 2011

    amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro


    To which Cameron assented, without asking for or getting anything in exchange.

    So they should block the Bill, and insist that he must go back and negotiate a good price for the wide-ranging licence that amendment would grant to the eurozone states.

  • In2minds

    To compare John Major with David Cameron is wrong. Major was in power for 7 years, I think Cameron will struggle to get 3 years in the job. Serve him right too!

  • RKing

    But what are the grave consequences we will face if we leave the EU altogether??

    We need to know and should be told!!

    Or is it just a big bluff?

  • Colin

    H2B my Ar$e…

    Heir to Heath, more like.

    Cameron is in trouble, which means the Tories are in trouble. On current form they won’t get re-elected

    Can you imagine a Lab / Lib coalition, after the next election? It doesn’t bare thinking about. Not even the prospect of decades of more left wing insanity could persuade H2H to do the right thing on Europe. The hard left, egged on and supported by the looney left!!!!

    Christ, he’s already rowing back on the crack down on the rioters. There’s no chance he’ll lay a glove on the ECHR nonsense

    They’re all europhiles. They’re all for high taxes and they’re all for as big a government as they can get away with.

  • an ex-tory voter

    From what I read this group of “euroseptics” (pun intended) have a pretty good record of voting with the government and in favour of further EU integration, Euro bailouts, etc etc etc. They are merely a diversionary tactic intended to fool a gullible electorate.

  • ndm

    United Kingdom of Great Iceland and Northern Ireland – here we come.

  • Romantically Hard Hearted Perry

    The whips are doing this, I’m told, to stave off a greater threat: support for an in-or-out referendum

    You mean . . . . Cast-Iron ‘Dave’, the H2B (Bonfirer of QUANGOs), is reneging on this as well!?

    Do bears **** in woods?

    My world is in tatters.

  • Phil Chuds

    No government will EVER give us a referendum on membership of THE EU
    (1) They know they would lose
    (2) By not having one , they can get a cushy posting with ‘our masters’ when the home electorate kicks them out .
    Self economic preservation no ?

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Do, or do not, there is no try.

  • anyfool

    the whips are laying down ground rules a bit sympathetic to sceptics because regardless of anything they do europe is going to be the big issue if growth does not return very quickly, the people who are losing out through the cuts will look at the contribution to europe and think that would save there bacon, some in the labour party are now going down this road as they know it will make trouble for the government and the fact that cutting the eu contribution wont save them from the cuts the labour party benefit both ways

  • barry laughton (@kilkeal)

    Don’t bet the house on having a referendum for outcome of renegotiations.