A third of Tory backbenchers
"http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2011/10/58-mps-including-46-tories-sign-next-thursdays-european-referendum-motion.html">have now signed the EU referendum motion. Worryingly for
the whips, this isn’t the limit to this motion’s appeal. There are several Tories who plan to come out for it on Monday and one PPS, Stewart Jackson, has already made clear that
he’s prepared to resign over the matter if necessary.
Last night, Number 10 sources told me that they would be interested in a compromise amendment. But I think the Cameron operation will have to offer more than they were planning to.
What’s needed to head off this rebellion is a commitment to renegotiation at the first available opportunity followed by a referendum on the results of that. This is something that Cameron
and Hague should be prepared to offer given what they have said recently about how they would like to repatriate powers if possible. (It is also what Cameron "http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-10-19a.888.7&s=speaker%3A10777#g898.3">seemed to offer in PMQs yesterday.)
Talking to Tory MPs, I’m struck by how disappointed they were with William Hague’s appearance before the 1922 Committee last week. I understand that at this meeting, Hague was
dismissive of the idea that there would be an opportunity anytime soon to repatriate powers. One Eurosceptic MP close to the leadership told me that ‘it seemed like he willed the ends but
didn’t have the stomach for the means.’
What’s needed now is some reassurance that the leadership is serious about using any treaty change – and one is likely in the not too future given that Germany
"http://www.spectator.co.uk/politics/all/7325968/politics.thtml">wants to give the ‘Stability and Growth Pact’ legal force – to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with
the European Union.