Coffee House

No 10 has intensive work ahead to prevent Tory criticism drowning out Cameron’s EU speech

14 January 2013

4:36 PM

14 January 2013

4:36 PM

The date of David Cameron’s Europe speech has been moved yet again. But this time it has been pulled forward, to this Friday. Downing Street realised that they weren’t going to be able to talk about anything else until the speech was done.

The mood in the party ahead of the speech is not good. There’s considerable irritation among Tory Cabinet Ministers that they haven’t been consulted about the speech. Another source of irritation for Eurosceptic ministers is that Ken Clarke has been allowed to — or, at least, not prevented from — joining up with Peter Mandelson and this new Centre for British Influence Through Europe. As one put it to me, ‘here we are, all keeping quiet and trying to be helpful and we wake up to find Ken staring out of the Observer at us.’

Meanwhile, the work of squaring influential Tory backbenchers to what the Prime Ministers is going to say has barely begun. Number 10 has some intensive work to do if the speech is not going to be drowned out by Tory criticism of it.

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
  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Cameron – and whoever is advising him – are dreadful strategists. He’s had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards holding a Referendum and even now he’s demonstrating that when it comes to the EU, he does what Merkel tells him to do, not what the British people demand.
    If he’d held a Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty – as he promised – things would be very different and he might stand a chance of being re-elected in 2015.
    I an reminded of an old verse:
    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive.

  • Steven Efstathiou

    You mean to say that Cameron’s ‘Big Speech’ is in danger of being drowned out by noises off? Tsk, who’duv thunk it.

  • In2minds

    Let’s not forget who invited Clarke back, Cameron is a fool

  • @PhilKean1

    Here’s an exclusive preview of the main points of the speech

    “I believe Britain’s place is in the EU. Jobs depend on our membership and I believe we gain influence by being at the heart of Europe.
    But I also believe that the EU has changed, and so Britain should seek to change its terms of membership.

    It is my intention to negotiate the return of certain powers back to Britain. But we must first wait to see exactly what the new Federal EU looks like and how it will operate. Once I have seen how the new system of Eurozone Governance works, and decided which powers it is in Britain’s interest to repatriate, I shall negotiate vigorously with my fellow EU leaders to bring these powers back to the UK.

    However, I cannot foresee this process being concluded until after the 2015 UK General election.
    But it is my intention to see this process through to a satisfactory conclusion. Britain’s national interest depends on getting this right, and the British people would expect no less from me.
    Therefore, it is my intention to include in the 2015 Conservative manifesto a commitment to hold a referendum to ask the consent of the British people on the changes I have negotiated on Britain’s terms of membership of the EU.

    If all goes well, I foresee the referendum being held early in 2017.

    Thank you.”

    That was a Party Election Broadcast by the Prime Minister on behalf of UKIP.

  • EJ

    Not sure why my comment has not been posted? It did not contain anything offensive?

  • alexsandr

    bet UKIP have got their PR machine warmed up to spoil this for cameron.

    • Wessex Man

      I most certainly hope so, they are our only hope!

  • Noa

    Give them credit the EUfederasts are quick off the mark. The phony war has begun.

    The Centre for British Influence is sponsored by various EU agencies. So we’re already paying for this pro EU progaganda outfit.

    • barbie

      Read John Redwood’s blog, today he lays out what effect EU laws are having on internal government, and how Whitehall responds. Its inlightening.

      • Noa

        Thanks Barbie.

  • Tom Tom
  • Rhoda Klapp

    I wonder if Rchard North would mind my posting this from his latest effort. It blows a major argument of Cameron clear out of the water. Is there any hope the ‘philes will stop repeating this tripe?


    Norway is not governed by fax rule – to thus assert is fundamentally to
    misunderstand the way the rules of the single market are formulated.
    Here are a few guidelines:

    a. Much of the technical legislation comprising the Single Market is not
    formulated by the EU in the first place. In a global trading
    environment, increasingly it is agreed at a global level, either through
    trade bodies, standards organisations, or international bodies, many of
    them acting under the aegis of the United Nations. There are also the
    G-8 and the G-20 “summits” which can act as initiating bodies.

    b. Negotiations on rules invariably take many years. They are largely
    complete, and the rules formalised by the time they reach the EU
    institutions. By the time they are published as formal proposals, it is
    usually the case that it is too late to make any changes. Most of such
    rules are passed by the Council of Ministers without a debate and
    without a formal vote. In the rare instances where there is a vote, it
    is by QMV, where the UK is not able – on its own – to block a measure.

    c. Rules agreed at a higher international level are negotiated by
    individual countries, on an intergovernmental basis, many of which can
    be vetoed at that level. Thus, it is important to be involved at this
    stage, to shape the rules before they become formalised, at a stage when
    they can be blocked.

    d. The UK is a full member of most of the international bodies, in its
    own right. However, as a member of the EU, it often waives its right to
    be represented and to vote on measures. Instead, it accepts the “common
    position” agreed by EU members, and allows itself to be represented by
    the EU at international level. That is especially the case with the
    WTO, where the EU conducts negotiations on behalf of the EU.

    e. For Britain thus to step outside the “little Europe” framework of the
    EU is actually to restore its voice on the international stage,
    permitting it to express its own interests and take up its own
    negotiating positions. It can also initiate rules on its own account,
    without first having to seek EU approval, something which Norway is able
    to do and has done in recent times.

    • barbie

      Thanks for that information. The sooner we get out the better. Cameron’s on his way to lose the 2015 election, so his arguements will never take place. He’s conning us all.

    • Noa

      And Cameron has also briefed Merkel and Hollande on what he’s going to pull out of his hat.

      No surprise, I suppose, that Parliament and the UK electorate is the last in line to know what’s on his mind.

  • williamblakesghost

    Isn’t this really an awful lot of fuss for a cowardly Prime Minister who is doing nothing more than kicking another issue into the long grass? Cameron’s not even doing a Pontius Pilate and letting the people decide. Instead he’s doing an ostrich impersonation instead and sticking his head in the sand.

    Cameron is unlikely going to be PM beyond 2015 so what he says now is meaningless if its beyond 2015 so in effect the Tories are completely useless in regardless to Europe and there is absolutely no point voting for them whilst Cameron is in charge.

    Our EU fate lies with Miliband so we need to prepare to defeat his Europhiliac delusions in the years post 2015. Basically once again this coalition proves to be a complete waste of space.

    Not only that but when the Eastern European invasion begins in 2014 Cameron and his Tory Europhiliac pals (e.g. former Immigration Minister Damian Green) will be toast.

    • Tom Tom

      I always thought John Major would be The Last Conservative Prime Minister but Cameron has half-heartedly wrested that title from him by being an Almost-Conservative Prime Minister like Major

      • Fergus Pickering

        Ah, more defeatist claptrap. It comes with age I suppose and some people age faster than others..

        • Tom Tom

          Yes Fergus you have aged beyond senility……

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep, I agree – it’s a long grass kick to keep the Tories united until after the next election when he can then think of something else or resign.

    • barbie

      ‘Our EU fate lies with Miliband’
      I don’t think so, he said on the Andrew Marr show he would not give a referendum o the EU. So how we can rely on him I don’t know. In fact another five years with Labour will leave us definately bankrupt, and full members of the EU, going against all we want as a nation. The man’s a liablity, and possibly dangerous to this state. Cameron is foolish as his stance is destroying his own party, and his chance of getting a win in 2015.
      As for Miliband, no thanks, give me Nigel Farage any day.

  • John_Page

    How can a professional political operation get everything thus far about this exercise so calamitously wrong?

    • TheBoilingFrog


  • Tom Tom

    Ken Clarke is always keen to link up with Mandelson – didn’t he and Heseltine plan to do so before ?

    • williamblakesghost

      Indeed best we have that unholy trinity and the rest of the forces of darkness out in the open where we can keep them under watch.

    • George_Arseborne

      Ken will become the first Tory to hold a post in the next Labour Government 2015. Hurray!!!.