Coffee House

David Cameron’s EU speech: the Coffee House guide

22 January 2013

11:57 PM

22 January 2013

11:57 PM

Downing Street has tonight released the following extracts from David Cameron’s speech on the European Union, which he will deliver tomorrow at 8am. Here’s your guide to what we know so far:

1. An unwilling EU could sleepwalk Britain out of the union

‘I speak as British Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part.

If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.

I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success. And I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.

That is why I am here today. To acknowledge the nature of the challenges we face. To set out how I believe the European Union should respond to them. And to explain what I want to achieve for Britain and its place within the European Union.’

The Prime Minister is turning around the criticism that is so often levelled at him that Britain could be sleepwalking out of the European Union. By saying that there is a danger that Europe will fail ‘if we don’t address these challenges, he is turning the focus on EU leaders to come up with the goods in a renegotiation.

2. A referendum is right: but not right now

Today, public disillusionment with the EU is at an all time high.

‘There are several reasons for this. People feel that the EU is heading in a direction that they never signed up to. They resent the interference in our national life by what they see as unnecessary rules and regulation. And they wonder what the point of it all is.

‘The result is that democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer thin.

‘Some people say that to point this out is irresponsible, creates uncertainty for business and puts a question mark over Britain’s place in the European Union.

But the question mark is already there and ignoring it won’t make it go away.

‘In fact, quite the reverse. Those who refuse to contemplate consulting the British people, would in my view make more likely our eventual exit.

‘Simply asking the British people to carry on accepting a European settlement over which they have had little choice is a path to ensuring that when the question is finally put – and at some stage it will have to be – it is much more likely that the British people will reject the EU.

‘That is why I am in favour of a referendum. I believe in confronting this issue – shaping it, leading the debate not simply hoping a difficult situation will go away.

‘Some argue that the solution is therefore to hold a straight in-out referendum now. I understand the impatience of wanting to make that choice immediately.

But I don’t believe that to make a decision at this moment is the right way forward, either for Britain or for Europe as a whole. A vote today between the status quo and leaving would be an entirely false choice.

‘It is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right. How can we sensibly answer the question ‘in or out’, without being able to answer the most basic question: ‘what is it exactly that we are choosing to be in or out of?’

‘The European Union that emerges from the Eurozone crisis is going to be a very different body. It will be transformed perhaps beyond recognition by the measures needed to save the Eurozone. We need to allow some time for that to happen – and help to shape the future of the European Union, so that when the choice comes it will be a real one.’

It is clear that the Prime Minister has given up on pleasing the Better Off Out Tories, and is instead focusing on those who, like Andrea Leadsom and her Fresh Start colleagues, and like many of those who signed the Baron letter, want a renegotiated relationship and/or believe a referendum is essential for restoring trust in politicians and Europe. Cameron has got quite a task here: he has to win back lost trust over the ‘cast-iron guarantee’ on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty that turned out to be made of something considerably weaker.

But this speech is driven as much Tory party’s fear of UKIP as it is by the Tory party itself. It is impressive that a party without a single MP has brought matters to such a head.

3. There will be an In/Out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017

‘The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament.  And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether.  It will be an in-out referendum.

‘Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.

It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.

‘I say to the British people: this will be your decision. And when that choice comes, you will have an important choice to make about our country’s destiny.’


Cameron has promised to fight the 2015 election with a manifesto pledge for a referendum. He will disappoint the 100 signatories of the Baron letter by failing to pledge legislation in this parliament, but in a sop to that group of backbenchers, he is promising to ‘draft legislation’ for the referendum which a post-2015 Conservative government could enact.

One question is whether Cameron would consider this a ‘red line’ in a post-2015 coalition, though. He speaks about what a Conservative government would do, but would it be a condition of a Conservative-led government?

His line ‘it is time for the British people to have their say’ is also an attack line he can use (possibly as early as tomorrow’s PMQs) on Labour: will the Opposition also let the British people have their say?

4. Britain is Better Off In

‘With courage and conviction I believe we can deliver a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union in which the interests and ambitions of all its members can be met. With courage and conviction I believe we can achieve a new settlement in which Britain can be comfortable and all our countries can thrive.

‘I believe something very deeply. That Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union. And that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.

Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won. For the future of my country. For the success of the European Union. And for the prosperity of our peoples for generations to come.’

In these quotes Cameron is also confirming that he will be campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union. He is not going to act as the bad cop in the negotiations: instead, the verdict of the British people will be the threat he uses if European leaders seem reluctant.

As for UKIP, the party will clearly go in all guns blazing on Cameron’s campaigning stance. As Nigel Farage argued this weekend, they can now claim to be the only party pushing for ‘Out’. But what will be interesting is whether this leads more Tory voters to defect, given the EU is not as big a driver of votes as immigration.

What’s missing? Spectator readers won’t have been surprised by the omission of a shopping list of powers to repatriate: James revealed in his column two weeks ago that the Prime Minister wasn’t planning to include a list. The danger of announcing a list of powers which his critics could then hold him to was too great: far better for the Prime Minister to emerge from the talks brandishing a piece of paper which he can claim is a victory rather than only six out of 20 demands.

But he is still taking a risk with his leadership of the Conservative party: he is expecting his ministers and hopes that the majority of his backbenchers will campaign for an ‘In’ vote. That means he’s got to give them a meaty new settlement: coming back with reforms to garlic tax isn’t going to wash it. He needs to bring back far more than the last British Prime Minister did from a renegotiation. If he doesn’t there is a risk that the Tory party could split between In and Out campaigners. There will always be a contingent of Conservative MPs who will campaign for ‘Out’, but Number 10 will hope that this will stay below 20 per cent. Any higher and Cameron would be in serious danger. There’s also a risk that the Prime Minister who believes Britain is Better Off In comes back with a settlement so paltry that British voters believe they are Better Off Out.

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Show comments
  • the viceroy’s gin

    “The Prime Minister is turning around the criticism that is so often
    levelled at him that Britain could be sleepwalking out of the European

    Pray, who has accused the Cameroon of doing anything to withdraw from the EU? Quite the opposite he’s done, your Cameroon HQ scripted talking points notwithstanding.

    If this is the Cameroons’ final position on this, they may have sealed their 2015 doom this day.

  • Cyclekarl Brown

    Get us out of this madness now I have had enough 2017 is too far away I want us to leave the EUSSR now and balls to what those idiots,Cameron,Obama and Merkel think.

  • echo34

    Can-kicking liar, but it will give us a chance to see what impact the thousands of romanians and bulgarians will have on the UK. How many are coming again?

  • Minekiller

    I work in and around many EU institutions and in discussions I have with colleagues, all are seriously worried about the UK leaving, in the main because of the loss of the UK financial contribution. They use words like ‘disaster’ and ‘calamity’. Also the UKs military muscle, not discussed in this European in or out debate, along with Policing and security expertise gives many EU missions the edge they need. Plans for further integration of national defence assets toward a unified EU military are heavily dependent on UK assets, planned future assets and know how, despite UK defence cuts…..all European countries are cutting deeply and are relying on the UK to keep to close to 3% GDP on defence.

    Interestingly, reading posts here and over in the Indy, Guardian, DM etc, I find all the comments UK centric and hopelessly partisan. The so called Europhiles who accuse others of being Little Englanders have an equally island based view of the EU, as if it is one entity, one all powerful body. It is not, far from it and states such as Germany and France use it as a forum to advance their own national interest on a daily basis, realism is alive and well in Berlin and Paris. People here in Europe have an interesting view of the British, which includes the Guardian readers, that the British are actually not really Europeans, but those funny ‘Island Monkeys’ living over the North Sea, the body of water they regard as the real divide, not the Channel.

  • Tom Tom

    ” democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer thin.”

    Once it was deep and wide apparently ! This “democratic consent” is like Rousseau’s “General Will” I assume ?

    • telemachus

      I would bet you voted for “in” in the 1970’s referendum

      • Fergus Pickering

        What has that got to do with it. That was an election for a common market and all to do with Henry Cooper’s greengroceries..

  • Adrian

    The argument that if we leave., no one will trade with us is pure propaganda and lies, after all, Japan’s not in the EU and people still trade with Japan.

    • telemachus

      The point is influence not just trade itself
      Japan has been mired in stagnation for 20 years while Germany and the UK in Europe power ahead
      As Europe evolves and grows again we need to be at the heart

  • Gerry Dorrian

    Cameron’s already bottled out of a referendum promise – I won;’t get fooled again.

    • telemachus

      We need leadership not a referendum
      The only European country that directed its future by referenda ended split into 4

      • Chris lancashire

        No, Switzerland is still one country.

  • Curnonsky

    Fool me twice…

    • telemachus

      Don’t Get Fooled Again

      • Curnonsky

        Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.

  • AnotherDaveB

    “The danger of announcing a list of powers which his critics could then hold him to was too great”

    I think the fact Messrs Hague, Cameron and Co have done zero work on what powers they should be seeking to repatriate to the UK was probably an important factor in that decision.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to
    play a committed and active part’

    A future in an ever closer union which is a hairsbreadth
    away from a fully fledged political union?

    ‘If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that
    Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit’

    We can save Europe? It depends on us remaining the premier political
    and financial mugs of Europe?

    ‘I want the European Union to be a success’

    You want the federal state to succeed? And you want us in

    ‘To acknowledge the nature of the challenges we

    You liar. You mean to avoid the issue of ‘ever closer
    union’ as the political class has sought to hoodwink us for the last 40 years. You
    shifty tw*t.

    ‘democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer

    You shifty liar There is no democratic consent for
    Brussels to run Britain.

    ‘ ..accepting a European settlement over which they
    have had little choice’

    We have had no choice thanks to you , labour and the
    liberals. You shifty liar.

    ‘Some argue that the solution is therefore to hold a
    straight in-out referendum now. I understand the impatience of wanting to make
    that choice immediately’

    You shifty evasive liar. You know that the issue is not a
    question of leaving ‘immediately’

    ‘‘It is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before
    we have had a chance to put the relationship right”

    That is the standard pro-EU Blair Spawn Establishment
    argument. You know that your colleagues in Europe have no intention of reform whether it is on corruption, trade, the CAP, Fisheries or any other single. You and your Labour and liberal friends know this know this. you wan to kick the issue
    again into the long grass you shifty evasive liar.

    ‘‘The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a
    mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a
    new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament’

    In other words you want a ‘mandate’ for a long tortuous
    series of negotiations diffused across a massive ranges of issues so the UK electorate will have no idea where,
    when, and what is going on – You want to pretend to the UK that you are going
    into bat for the UK when you are fully intending to spend all your time in Europe
    with your associates creating a Potemkin Village of a new settlement. You want,
    as they do, a long drawn out period of faux negotiation which will be overtaken
    by other events.

    ‘‘It is time for the British people to have their say’

    Indeed it is. And you have shown that the only say they
    will get is that of giving you permission to go to Brussels to fabricate,
    dissemble, delay and confound their wishes.

    ‘you will have an important choice’

    Yes. You can vote to continue as before or you can choose
    to send a pro-EU, euro supporting government (i.e L abour or Liberal or Conservative) to Brussels to work on the task of running the British peoples wishes into the sand.

    • telemachus

      I guess you wold be better served by sticking to the dying wall

      • Colonel Mustard

        What a troll you are.

        • telemachus

          There are a number of bullies who post here who try to drown out reason whether from the thread lead or from fellow posters
          We will be heard

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Standard fart in a spacesuit fare. Insults and evasion and an inversion of the truth. The Blair Spawn is on the radio now. Attend to your pal.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Yes and you are the biggest bully of the lot. You are the one who tries to interject Labour slogans and soundbites in every thread.

            Glad you finally admit you are a “we” rather than an “I” though.

    • BorderlineFascist

      Nail on head Hexham

  • Frank B

    “I want the European Union to be a success. And I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.”

    No thanks. Whether it’s in 10, 20 or 30 years politicians will always find ways of further integrating Britain. The only way to protect our sovereignty is to come completely out.

    • telemachus

      Why, pray
      The EU has served us well pulling us out of the dark days of gloom of the 1970’s, rescuing us again from our deep recession of the 90’s and now leading us back toward boom times as the Eurozone survives the Greeks and begins to power ahead.
      I do notbwantbto simply be a little englander

      • Tom Tom

        do notbwantbto simply be a little englander…………So emigrate

        • telemachus

          I care too much about the well being of the UK urban poor and the growing inequalities I see everywhere
          I live here in our thriving multicultural society and wish to protect it from the little England philosophy
          Allies in Europe remain the best way to do this

          • MirthaTidville

            Its your multicultural society thats ruining this country now…Too much multi and not enough culture

            • yjjyd

              Well no, it’s indigenous scum wastrels, from Chavs to Politicians that are the problem. That will become glaringly obvious once you muddlers won’t have foreigners to blame any more.

            • 2trueblue

              Perfectly put.

          • 2trueblue

            The Dutch are none too happy with their ‘multicultural’ society and are now moving to change things so that those who enter Holland to assimilate, and become part of the country. Their belief is that if you chose to live in another country you should not try and impose your beliefs on the host country, but respect them and live by them. If you want your host country to change into the one you left, they say ‘Go Home;. Why should the host country pander to those who have made that free choice to come here?

            • telemachus

              You do not understand multiculturalism
              The whole point is live together not impose

              • 2trueblue

                Freedom is one thing, imposing your culture on your host country is exactly that. If you can not live in the country that YOU have chosen to move to, why did you move there? I think you are not interested in facts.

  • monty61

    I detect the hand of uber-strategist Gideon Osbone in this cunning plan. Wonder how that will turn out?

    • David Lindsay

      His strategic genius was made apparent on the day of the last the General Election.

      Just as his economic genius has been made apparent every day sense.

      • telemachus

        Difficult is it not following on from the team who rescued the world banking system and then engineered us back to the growth that Osborne choked off

  • williamblakesghost

    So Cameron has said he will not contemplate withdrawal and will campaign for a ‘in’ vote at a EU referendum.

    Now putting aside how unlikely it is that Cameron would ever be in a position to fulfil these commitments on the EU for a moment (Labour will most likely win the next election) it seems to me that Cameron has now made it essential for Eurosceptics that Labour will win the 2015 election as counterintuitive as that may sound.

    Firstly it is now highly unlikely that a British Government or the European Union will negotiate either as hard or with as much good faith as if it were a fully open negotiation. Without the possibility of withdrawal being on the table there is little or no chance that the repatriation of powers will be significant or substantial.

    Furthermore, given Cameron has made it clear before the event that he will campaign for a yes vote to whatever deal he made that would mean that the official positions of the three establishment political parties and presumably their campaign machines will all be campaigning for a yes vote. So the possibility of the no (withdrawal) vote winnnig is extremely slim.

    So the fait accomplit that Cameron is offering is an almost certain yes vote on potentially some minimal repatriation of powers. It would be better in such circumstances if there were no referendum or alternatively that Cameron was not around to offer it. And there we have it. Eurosceptics must vote to get rid of Cameron…..

    Unless there is one leader amongst the three establishment parties who is truly Eurosceptic then there is no likelihood of recovering our independence and freedom. Now it won’t come from either Labour or the Libdems so it can only realistically be a Conservative. So basically Eurosceptics have to withold their votes from the Conservative until such time as they have a truly Eurosceptic leader.

    • David Lindsay

      Hear! Hear!

      But what is “counterintuitive” about it? Labour kept Britain out of the euro. Labour MPs have elected three Eurosceptics out of three to represent them on the party’s National Executive Committee, and one of those has voted against every Treaty since the first one. The only other candidate was no more pro-EU than those three. One third of members of the Parliamentary Labour Party have voted for it to be chaired by John Cryer, an outspoken and dynastic advocate of withdrawal from the EU. Ed Balls is Shadow Chancellor. Jon Cruddas heads the Policy Review.

      One of the places for Labour’s 2010 intake to see and be seen is at the Morning Star Readers’ and Supporters’ Group, reading and supporting Britain’s original Eurosceptic newspaper. Labour’s principal Eurofederalist has had to resign. Ed Miliband has already defeated the Government over the EU Budget, without a single Labour rebel. The number of Conservative rebels was fewer than the number of Liberal Democrat MPs.

      Having declared himself in favour of the repatriation of industrial and regional policy, two more specific proposals than anyone speaking officially on behalf of the Conservative Party has ever managed or will manage today, Miliband should keep up momentum. I have already set out how.

      • williamblakesghost

        And Ed Milband is a dedicated Europhile who has indicated that he would look to retain the current status quo as best as possible and who is only waiting for the ‘right time’ to join the Euro..

        You can try to pretend that Labour is Eurosceptic but less than 10% of their MPs are.considered as such and frankly having betrayed the nation by signing up to Lisbon without a referendum Labour have zero Eurosceptic credibility. Personally I’d rather be dead than vote Labour…..

        • David Lindsay

          Absolutely no one, not even the Lib Dems, is any longer talking about joining the euro, which was ruled out forever by the result of the 1997 Election.

          Well, no one apart from the two big losers from result. One of those gets a seat at every Tory Cabinet until he dies, even when he no longer has a job in it. The other has a desk in his own old Department from 20 years ago, again apparently until he dies, or the party that he quietly but firmly owns leaves office again, whichever happens sooner.

          “Are considered to be” by whom? A third of them voted to be chaired by John Cryer, who is an advocate of outright withdrawal, and, by the way, whose partner is a grassroots-elected member of the National Executive Committee, one of several strong EU critics in those ranks. That body has to approve all parliamentary candidates.

          Every single Labour MPs voted for a real terms cut in the British contribution to the EU Budget, joined by fewer Tory rebels than there were Lib Dem MPs. All four of the *nominees* to represent Labour MPs on the NEC were critics of the EU (half of them from the 2010 intake), and one of the three winners was Dennis Skinner.

          The only holder of Clarke-Heseltine views on the Labour benches lost the Whip aeons ago and has recently had to resign his seat. The Conservative candidate came fifth – yes, fifth – in the by-election to succeed him, while a massive media campaign for UKIP still only gave it 20 per cent of the vote, less than the Tories used to get there in the 1980s.

          And Miliband has already proposed two specific repatriations of power. Two more than any Conservative Leader, including Iain Duncan Smith, ever has. Or ever will. Including this morning.

  • Tron

    UKIP supporters want an in/out referendum but if they vote UKIP we will get a Labour Government or even worse a Lib/Lab Government. That’s just a fact.
    So vote UKIP if you want to stay in the EU. and have Ed Balls running the economy.

    • David Lindsay

      Ed Balls is the most prominent Eurosceptic in British politics, and he was second only to his mentor in keeping Britain out of the euro. As for UKIP, underneath Owen Jones’s article calling for a new left-wing party, Ken Bell, who formerly blogged as The Exile, writes:

      “Another set of initials, that’s what’s needed! I don’t think so, and that is why I joined UKIP last October. Opposition to the EU is hardly a rightist position. It was the Tories who took us in and the CBI who are now screaming that we should remain in. If something is good for the bosses then it is bad for the workers which is as good a reason as any to join UKIP, the only game in town at the moment. Most of my old mates from Oldham Labour days are now in the party as are quite a few old Communists. Come and join us.”

      Riven between the Old Right and the New Right, each of which thinks of the party as its own and no one else’s, UKIP was unstable enough without this. But now Ken informs me that, “UKIP is a strange bird at the moment. With only 20,000 members it has attracted a weird libertarian wing who will probably be brushed to one side as the party grows. As things stand they have left the party with some cracked policies that I just ignore. To my mind UKIP is the new party of protest and I reckon that this year will see it begin to increase its membership and, hopefully, move to the left on economic matters.”

      When Owen was on Question Time last 22nd November, he stated the left-wing case against the EU, which is the mainstream case everywhere else, and indeed here. But ssshh, no one must ever know. If the Question Time producers had known that Owen was going to hint at the existence of such a position, then they would never have let him on. Farage was not on, so he must have been on holiday that week.

      Ken is as Old Left as you could possibly imagine; I had vaguely assumed that he was in Arthur Scargill’s SLP, about which it says a great deal, and not in a good way, that he and many of his long-time associates are in UKIP instead. “Identity politics”, as if there could ever really be any other other kind, have been, will be, should be, and are being appropriated, deployed, transformed and transcended by heterosexual males, by Christians, by the White British ethnic group, by those who identify specifically as English, and by people of mixed ethnic heritage. Perhaps an expression of the first, third and fourth of these, at least, is the accession of Ken and his comrades to UKIP? And what does that mean for UKIP?

      • Tom Tom

        “Ed Balls is the most prominent Eurosceptic in British politics,”Rubbish ! The chubby little Bilderberger is signed up to the Project…..Philip Davies is far more Eurosceptic than Chucky

        • telemachus

          Ed in fact shows balanced judgement on this and much else
          We will be fortunate soon to see his expertise in action when he engineers us out of the coming triple dip recession which is predicted to last until the next election

          • David Lindsay

            He certainly has shown balanced judgement. He kept us out of the euro, and he can’t stand the EU generally. Now wonder, despite a majority of only 1101 over the Conservatives, they have had literally no applicants to contest his seat in 2015. Re-elected unopposed?

        • David Lindsay


    • williamblakesghost

      [Yawn] Oh dear not this hackneyed drivel again. Is this all the Conservatives can think up? No wonder they are in trouble.

      Cameron has already lost the next election. He lost it when he entered into a coalition with the Libdems and unified the left under Miliband.

      Trying to pass the blame off on UKIP is pathetic because firstly it admits that the Conservatives are incapable of dealing with a minor party and second its admitting defeat two years before the election.

      The thing is UKIP are the only recognisable right of centre party there is. The Conservatives by their leaders admission are a liberal centrist party. Who else are right of centre voters meant to vote for other than a right of centre party.

      I will explain why though through Cameron’s triangulation why a Labour Government is now necessary……

      • Tron

        Don’t accuse me of being a Conservative.
        I’m just saying vote UKIP to get Labour and no referendum. And so are you.

        • xDemosthenesx

          “UKIP to get Labour and no referendum”

          As opposed to vote Conservative and get no referendum?

          Or worse, a referendum that is clearly skewed in ever possible way for the ‘In’ camp to win?

          If there is even a hint that he may lose it, it won’t happen. A vote for UKIP will drive the final nail into the ailing beast that was once the Conservative party.

          Maybe after electoral Armageddon an actual right wing party might emerge from the ashes and try to rescue whatever remains of the country post Ed Milliband.

  • David Lindsay

    Sod that.

    Legislation now, next week if possible, with six simple clauses. If playing about with the succession to the Throne can be rushed through both Houses in two days, then so can this.

    First, the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, and its use to repatriate agricultural, industrial and regional policy while also reclaiming our historic fishing rights (200 miles, or to median line) in accordance with international law.

    Secondly, the requirement that, in order to have any effect in the United Kingdom, all EU law pass through both Houses of Parliament as if it had originated in one or other of them.

    Thirdly, the requirement that British Ministers adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until such time as the Council of Ministers meet in public and publish an Official Report akin to Hansard.

    Fourthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights unless confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, the High Court of Parliament.

    Fifthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of anything passed by the European Parliament but not by the majority of those MEPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking members of the House of Commons.

    And sixthly, since apparently we must, the provision for a referendum on the question, “Do you wish the United Kingdom to remain a member of the European Union?” The first five would come into effect at the same time as this provision, and would not be conditional on that referendum’s outcome.

    Over to the Opposition Front Bench. Clearly, no bugger else is going to make the move.

    • telemachus

      Why even think of a referendum?
      Only argument will follow the decision and there will be no agreement on the question
      Trust parliament on this

      • David Lindsay

        I wouldn’t, if I couldn’t. But the Down The Line callers are set on one.

        Oh, well, a warm welcome to the Conservative Party as the third party out of three to support one, although not, unlike the other two, on the real issue. But, like so many other things, it only counts when the Tories say or do it. Everyone else does not exist. Apart from UKIP, obviously. Fleet Street’s and the BBC’s beloved eccentric uncles who are therefore saturated with affectionate, wholly uninquiring coverage.

  • HooksLaw

    ‘The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from
    the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new
    settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament. And when
    we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a
    referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on
    these new terms; or come out altogether’

    Given all the talk about labour stealing tory clothes on this then Cameron has done well get his retaliation in first.
    The ‘new settlement’ will come against a backdrop of a changing EU, it comes against a background of an EU proposing ever closer fiscal union (ie a de facto closer political union) so our renegotiation is inevitable.

    And in the final analysis the referendum will say Yes to staying in.

    • John Hall

      “the EU is not as big a driver of votes as immigration.” Yet EU membership is probably the single biggest motor of uncontrolled immigration and the consequent overloading of public services and facilities. All that is promised is draft legislation, which Clegg and Miliband could combine together to oppose, and even if it were to succeed, the enabling legislation would remain contingent upon the Conservative party gaining an absolute majority under David Cameron at the 2015 general election. I congratulate him on his chutzpah, but it’s all just a smokescreen for the greatest ‘can-kick’ seen at Westminster since Lloyd George’s tactics vis the Marconi Inquiry. Nothing has been secured. Nothing!