Coffee House

Cameron irked on Europe as backbenchers rattle the referendum cage

22 October 2012

5:00 PM

22 October 2012

5:00 PM

Throughout his statement on the European Council, David Cameron seemed slightly irritated. One sensed that the headlines of the last few days have rather got under his skin.

Cameron began by declaring that the Council meeting had made ‘limited progress’, which is hardly much to report to the House. He also was unable to resist another pop at Chris Bryant; complaining that he still hadn’t apologised to him when the Labour MPs asked a question.


It was striking what a pro-European tone Ed Miliband took in his response to Cameron. It was all about how Cameron was losing control of his party over Europe and needed more friends there. When Cameron asked him if he agreed with Jim Murphy that there should be an In/Out referendum at some point, Miliband emphatically shook his head.

But, as is always the case with these European statements, the most interesting questions came from Cameron’s own backbenchers. Intriguingly, Cameron dodged the question when asked if his proposed referendum on the coming ‘new settlement’ would offer an out option.

One answer Cameron did give, though, was particularly revealing. When Julian Lewis pushed him on whether for Eurozone banking union to succeed it would have to lead to something approaching a country called Europe, Cameron agreed.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • beleaguered

    I agree with the psychiatric help for naivety. Particularly David Cameron’s. Can he seriously expect us to believe him. What planet is he on. To promise what he already promised for this term, only less so, if nuts. He hasn’t delivered now and he won’t deliver then. Vote Farage. If he wins sufficient seats he has a chance to power share. I’m sick to death of useless metropolitan wankers.

  • Heartless etc.,

    The H2B “seemed slightly irritated”

    Huh! The H2B should have his feet held to the fire until, – or unless – he stops slavering after the dog dish that is the EUSSR, and starts to unravel the mess we are now tied into. That or he quits with immediate effect.


    It matters not whether he dodges a question, or even gives a revealing answer. It’s what he doesn’t say which is hollered from the rooftops, though too many simply don’t hear, either through ignorance, disinterest or because of a general good nature which gives equivocating dissemblers like Cameron the benefit of the doubt.
    Things will have to get even worse before people will begin to understand how close to socialist totalitarianism we are, and I see no politician on the horizon with the intellect, charisma and bloody-mindedness to articulate this.
    Cameron needs to be irked every hour of every day.

  • 2trueblue

    He ducks, he dives, he weaves, and never gives us his true position on the EU. We will not be given our referendum by any of the parties. They are all doing very well out of it and care not a jot for what the electorate want. We had 13yrs of Liebore with their promise and did not get it. No chance now.

  • Madame Merle

    It has become fashionable for governments to ignore the will of those who elected them. Their sole objective is to remain where they are and to hell with what people want.
    As long as a few backbenchers continue to rattle the referendum cage, they, at least,
    will be doing their duty by acting as a constant reminder to the gentleman amateurs in government that we wish to leave the EU at the earliest opportunity.

    • Realist

      Spot on, Madame Merle – our politicians seem to overlook the fact they are where they are to REPRESENT their electorate. If they find themselves at odds with that for whatever reason, they should stand down to make way for someone who WILL listen to the people and the simple fact is, the vast majority want out of the EU.

  • @PhilKean1

    What is a Conservative?

    To me, the first word that springs to mind is “principle”. However, “principle” doesn’t seem to be a value Cameron sets much store in.

    Like the principle of democracy; specifically, true democracy, not only for the British, but also for all people.
    People like the Europeans. Yes, those same Europeans who Cameron seems to so easily accept that, without fair and proper consultation, are about to surrender any hope of ever again being in a position to choose who governs them.

    Sadly, in Cameron, the British people have, as far as the EU is concerned, a British version of Nero. For because of his refusal to deal with the EU issue, the decision about whether Britain exits – or fully commits to a Federal EU – is likely to be taken, after 2015, by a handful of Liberals who are blackmailing their Labour, Coalition partners.

    • EJ

      All that one can hope is that the sea of resentment which this is all storing up – that lies seething beneath the surface across the land – will come back on the Cameroonians with a ferocity that will knock them for six. I have no doubt now that the Tories will be out on their smug arses come the next election and traitorous Labour will be back in (it sickens me to say). The one saving grace for us ex-Tory voters will be the ever-increasing strength of UKIP – the one party that still has some conservative values.

      • @PhilKean1

        True. But Cameron’s Party pose another danger.

        If they DO manage to narrow the gap between themselves and Labour, then Labour may not get a majority and they may be forced to share office with what’s left of the Liberals.

        In 2020, a Conservative party disinfected of Liberals-posing-as-Tories can repair Labour’s 5 years of damage.
        However, the sort of damage the Liberals will do will be irreversible.

        This paradox is the one that is currently occupying our minds. And there seems to be no solution OTHER than to hope Labour (as much as I despise them) get a majority.

        • PaderB

          All hope is not yet lost. Much as I would hate to see the break-up of the Union, a yes vote for the SNP would have much greater effect than if the treacherous LibDems had not reneged on the boundary changes. The loss of so many Scottish Labour votes must almost ensure a Tory victory but one, I hope, tempered with a considerable number of UKIP seats.

  • EJ

    Cameron will twist and slither every which way to avoid giving the British people the referendum they actually want: a simple IN / OUT referendum. That is because he is pro-Europe, like the rest of the privileged metropolitan careerists that make up our political class (Clegg, Milliband etc). They think they know better than we do. In fact, they are quite contemptuous of what they deem our “small-minded”, “Little Englander” opinions.

    Well sorry boys – but we’re not the ones who will head off into the Brussels sunset with six figure salaries and gold-plated pensions are we? We’re just the poor drones who’ll be left behind to live with uncontrolled immigration, rampant over-regulation, the much hated human rights nonsense, the death of democracy and millions flooding from our depleted coffers on a daily basis. Cameron must not be allowed to get away with this.

    • telemachus

      So what do you suggest?
      The only suggestion which would fit with your views (vote Farage) would make a Labour majority a certainty.
      And with that gaining an even more europhile government
      We are all between a rock and a hard place

      • EJ

        We’ve been over this. The Conservative Party is now so poor and so left-ist under Cameron that it actually makes little difference whether it’s them – or Labour or the Lib Dums. Yes I detest Labour, but the Tories are now almost as bad. There’s hardly a fag paper between ’em. The only way forward is for conservatives like me to vote on principle for the party that most closely echoes and stands up for our values. That’s UKIP. And UKIP is gaining strength as a result. I genuinely admire Farage. I genuinely dislike Cameron. There was a small window of opportunity to lift this country out of its terminal decline – and Cameron’s p*****g it away. The man would rather talk about gay marriage and wind farms than the things that really matter to me: the EU, immigration, etc (need I go on).

        • telemachus

          So then you will split the right vote and let Labour in.
          I guess those on the centre left should thank you
          However it is a matter of integrity and some think the fag paper analogy is actually mor appropriate to Farage and Griffin.
          Why is it I wonder that left wing bloggers when commenting on the Sheffield Wednesday Goalkeeper assault sprinkled their comments with both Griffin and Farage’s names?

          • EJ

            Popular fellow aren’t you

            • telemachus

              To court popularity is to deny truth

  • james102

    The danger, as far as pro-federalists are concerned, is Cameron has proved he has no strategic ability. He is liable to find himself in a situation where a referendum is inevitable whether he wants one or not and it is also likely to be an In or Out question.
    Miliband may now see this is happening but there is also a risk for Labour in being identified as pro-EU when the electorate are becoming anti-EU.
    Because of Miliband’s family background he is not in a very good position to champion the EU as it can easily be seen as anti-British.

  • Vulture

    Anyone who trusts a word Mr Slippery says on Europe needs urgent psychiatric help for Naivity beyond reason. He and Ed Miliband are on one side of the great divide and the vast majority of the rest of us on the other. He keeps trying to conceal this, but fewer and fewer people believe him.
    But enough of the EU for one day : when is CH going to address the lying bastards at the BBC?nYet again, the Govt are missing a golden opportunity to dismantle the whole ant’s heap of mendacity and corruption presided over by Dave’s old mate and mentor Patten.

    • james102

      And the rent swapping.

      • telemachus

        My gripe at the BBC is that they are manifestly pro Tory pro Coalition and pro Establishment
        Why else do we not hear night after night that the direction of the economy is wrong and we need a change of direction
        To me it is almost as if George Osbourne is the DG.
        Mind given what a corrupt chap Entwistle is turning out, perhaps even George would be better

        • starfish

          “…manifestly pro Tory pro Coalition and pro Establishment…”
          this is a joke. right?

          • Andy

            Yep it’s a joke. The BBC is pro Labour, pro EU etc, etc,etc.
            It is merely the broadcasting arm of that fascist rag The Guardian.
            But now we learn that it has its own pedophile ring and covered up and ignored the abuse of children by one of its stars for over 40 years.

    • albert of Llangollen

      Vulture, Surely nobody can trust Cameron on anything. His answer to Julian Lewis tells us everything. He knows it will be a country called europe and still wants us in it. How can we have such a man as our leader? He has to go.