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Exclusive: Cameron and Osborne ambush Lib Dems in Cabinet meeting

4 March 2014

11:05 AM

4 March 2014

11:05 AM

A dramatic Cabinet this morning as the Tories ambushed the Lib Dems over the contents of the Queen’s Speech. First, Cameron took them by surprise by demanding that a recall bill be included in the speech. This was quite a slap to the Liberal Democrats seeing as just last month they were publicly blaming Cameron and Osborne for the fact that a recall bill was not going to be included in the Queen’s Speech.

But this wasn’t the only bit of Tory aggression this morning. For Osborne then took up the baton, pushing for the inclusion of an EU referendum bill in the coalition’s legislative agenda. David Laws and Nick Clegg dismissed this idea. But IDS then pointed out that the Liberal Democrats used to boast of being in favour of an In / Out referendum.

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These Tory tactics at Cabinet this morning tell us two things. First, the Tories have decided to take a more combative approach to their coalition partners. Since the turn of the year, senior figures in Downing Street have been complaining about how the Liberal Democrats keep screaming ‘Blue Murder’, describing the Tories in increasingly diabolical terms. Today, suggests how the Tories intend to respond to this; making their coalition partners take the rap for blocking popular measures.

Second, the fact that it was Osborne, Cameron’s closest political ally, who led the charge for the inclusion of an EU Referendum Bill in the Queen’s Speech shows that the Tory leadership is trying to pre-empt backbench demands. They know that the Queen’s Speech will happen almost straight after the European Elections, where Ukip are expected to knock the Tories into third place, and that there’ll be calls then for a firming up of the party’s commitment on an EU referendum. By making it clear that the Tory leadership want the bill in the Queen’s Speech they are trying to get ahead of the game on this.


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Show comments
  • Denis_Cooper

    1. When you refer to “an EU Referendum Bill”, what do you mean by that?

    A credible Bill for some kind of referendum to be held before the next general election, or a worthless Bill for some kind of a referendum after the next general election, which could then be denied by the next government of whichever party or parties?

    2. Was it agreed that this Bill, whatever it may be, would be in the Queen’s Speech, or is this just another Tory PR exercise to explain to the public that they really really want an EU referendum but the LibDems are stopping it from happening?

    • HookesLaw

      Its clearly the referendum bill defeated by the Lords. if you are so worried about nit being denied by another party then all you have to do is make sure we get a tory govt instead of the bunch of nutjobs you support.

      • Denis_Cooper

        It doesn’t actually say that in the article, and I did refer to a referendum promised for after the next general election being denied by “the next government of whichever party or parties”, not by “another party”.

  • Steve Lloyd

    They can put what they like in the speech, nobody will believe a word of it.

    • HookesLaw

      Like when they announced the introduction of ‘free schools’ for instance.

  • James Strong

    I’ve got a mixed response to all this.
    First, I’m pleased that there were some robust policy ideas put forward.
    Secondly, I find it rather worrying that discussions at Cabinet are on the internet so soon and wonder who leaked them and when.
    Third, I doubt this has as much to do with getting these policies implemented as it is to get a short term headline for Cameron and Osborne, and I expect it all to be dropped rather than carried through.
    But I don’t trust Cameron anyway. Maybe some here think he really wants to do the things that are leaked here.

    • HookesLaw

      Its been months years even since Cameron first announced he wanted to renegotiate with the EU and follow it up with a referendum. Its all pretty clear.

      But why be surprised at details of the cabinet meetings being released. Its not unusual.

      • James Strong

        I accept what you say about Cameron announcing that he wanted to renegotiate with the EU and follow it up with a referendum.
        But, put simply, I do not believe him.
        He has allowed himself escape room by not confronting the issue until after the election, which he knows he may well lose.
        It gives me no pleasure to say that I do not believe that our PM’s first loyalty is to the UK.
        Even if he wins the election I think he will present even the smallest renegotiation as a triumph. I think he will do anything to stay in the EU.
        I think he is being dishonest with the voters.
        If I am wrong, and he is telling the truth, that is probably worse. It’s bad enough that the PM isn’t believed when he is lying; it’s worse if he isn’t believed when he is telling the truth.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Cameron was summed up in his sparse entirety by the cabinet leak that described everything being decided on “how it might play”. He is a PR man to his expensive footwear – just not a very good one.

  • Noa

    Savvy political commentators like Peter Hitchens have been predicting that the Coalition would stage a break-up some 12 moths before the general election. Reportage of incidents show that they are right.
    This is a morally and intellectualy bankrupt government existing solely on the life support provided by its own Fixed Term legislation. When will someone, anyone, find the courage to pull the plug on this empty shell?

    • telemachus

      Come on Noa
      I am not a Tory but intelligent enough to see that with the exception of the axing of capital spend on accession the Coalition have achieved what the voters wished ie to turn round and stabilise the fiscal position caused by the American Subprime catastrophe
      Further, whatever the pantomime, Alexander and Osborne have a moral pride in seeing the finances thru to May 2015
      Clegg would not dare do a turkey for Christmas
      And it remains clear that Osborne calls the shots for the Tories
      *
      So Hitchens will be proved wrong

      • Noa

        That a malign socialist and dedicated Labour troll like you defends the coalition says all one needs to know about its unbroken continuation of Labour’s fabian socialist policies.
        Cameron and Osborne have blended seamlessly into the socialist political continuum that Blair plotted to create.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, the Londonistan establishment is getting real nervous, if they’re sending out lefty trolls to defend the Camerluvvies.

        • telemachus

          Very interesting times are coming

          *
          Indeed
          From the high point of May 2014 we will see UKIP drive the Tory manifesto to the right alienating Mr average Sun and Mirror reader
          This taken with the split in the right vote in the 43 Tory marginal will deliver a famous victory to the forces of reason

          • Kitty MLB

            You have been alienating Mr average
            Mirror ( can they even read) and Sun reader
            for years.Do you honestly think The good
            folk of Doncaster relate to their MP.
            Delude yourself into thinking UKIP
            will not take many of your seats.

      • John McEvoy

        ‘..the Coalition have achieved what the voters wished ie to turn round and stabilise the fiscal position …’

        .

        Are you on crack?

        • telemachus

          Not sure from which standpoint you come
          I admit growth is not as good as if we had followed Ed Balls policies and social circumstances less favourable
          But the Coalition has been a site better than untrammelled Toryism would have been

  • jazz606

    “………………..full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

  • Chris lancashire

    Excellent moves by Cameron and Osborne. About time too.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …yes, they were past due to start lying and electioneering, weren’t they?

      • Chris lancashire

        I’ve been waiting for you to resurface. On the last occasion we had an extended exchange, having totally failed to extract the response you wanted, you finally resorted to accusing me of child abuse. Even for you that plumbed new depths. I briefly considered legal action but decided you weren’t worth my time or money. However, remember that the anonymity which The Spectator kindly extends is neither a licence to be libellous neither is it proof against proper legal action.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Is that what the voices up in your head are telling you, lad? Remember, fantastical delusions are no good for you. You should let them go.

          Oh and as for the rest of your threatening delusions, bring it on, laddie. Your fantastical delusions don’t really stand up. They’re just fantastical delusions, which you socialist nutters are known to fling about, like much of the poo you fling.

          Bring it on, you moral degenerate.

          • Kitty MLB

            Clearly another soul who Viceroy has
            sent to the moral darkness of a Labour
            death camp, and no one gets let out
            early, even if they do not plot with those
            who the little toad considers to be the wicked enemy.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …again, please don’t scab your ignorance after my posts, it’s confused nonsense and it’s not welcome.

              • Kitty MLB

                Oh dear, Just realised you personally are BNP ( not UKIP, who you have latched onto ) & extremists do not get whimsicality.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …once again, please don’t scab your ignorance after my posts. It’s of no value and isn’t welcome. It’s somewhat creepy, too.

        • John McEvoy

          ‘… I briefly considered legal action …’
          .
          Pillockus Maximus.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, it’s amusing that oily weasel actually admits to having such little self awareness, to make that empty threat on the internet.

        • Kitty MLB

          He is a lovely old toad ! Yet has NO humour
          can hold a grudge to kingdom come,
          and can instantly banish the most Conservative
          of people to Gulag, where they are doomed
          forever.

          • Chris lancashire

            And that excuses child abuse allegations?

            • Kitty MLB

              O excuse my manners.
              No that is a utter disgrace and even
              The most bonkers of people should
              not be excused for making such accusations.

              • Chris lancashire

                I’m assuming irony. Fine then if you’re OK with that type of behaviour. I find it amazing that people will put on here comments that they would never dare to make in person. It’s pretty cowardly apart from being bereft of either wit or political reason. Little wonder then that Ukip has achieved the status of the Truly Nasty Party.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and the Camerluvvies are the whimpering socialist lumps, lad, buried in delusion, and now literally threatening all who disagree with their socialist madness.

                  But it’ll be over for them soon, lad. Your burden can be released then. Some of it, anyway.

                • Kitty MLB

                  The issue is that UKIP attracts some spiteful weirdo’s
                  and extremists, who do not have an imagination, get humour
                  and live in a fools paradise.

                • Chris lancashire

                  Well it certainly does on here.

                • Kitty MLB

                  It does in his case.

  • http://www.theprimeminister.com/ David Thompson

    Daily Mail correcting material so Right Wing sleaze can look not so horrible ! like how they give a good press to Osborne and BJ , two excessively ambitious and quite irritating politicos , who have too much dosh, not due to their ability!

    • Fergus Pickering

      I thought Boris’s dosh comes mostly from his journalism i.e.from his ability.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …what makes you think that implies “ability”?

  • AnotherDave

    If Mr Clegg’s “Party of In” campaign has any success, there’s a chance the Tories may place fourth in the EU Parliament elections. What fun!

  • Frank

    It is reported that Downing Street knew about Patrick Rock in early February. It is suggested that the Daily Mail’s articles about Hewitt / Dromey / etc were part of a damage limitation exercise ahead of the news about Rock being made public.

    • Swiss Bob

      Of course it is, it’s just not true though is it?

    • realfish

      ‘Daily Mail’s articles’

      As well as those in the Guardian, Times, Independent, Mirror, Sunday People, Sun, Telegraph?

    • HookesLaw

      The Mail have been writing these articles for years. I suggest its only been ‘suggested’ by apologists for Harman.

  • Diogenes

    So it seems like the Tories are being Tories again.
    There must be an election coming up.
    How long will it last and will it be more than just words this time?

    • http://free-english-people.blogspot.com/ Paul Perrin

      It will last until the ballots close…

      • Denis_Cooper

        Precisely, just like before the last EU Parliament elections in 2009 when the Tories started a rumour that they were reverting to Cameron’s original “cast-iron guarantee” and would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty even if it had already come into force.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/05/cameron_tougher_on_lisbon.html

        “But surely in a speech which was about the importance of honesty and transparency for politicians, Mr Cameron would not have been less than straightforward? Whether he meant it or not it is now on the record: in government the Conservatives will hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, no ifs, no buts.”

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