There’s ‘no secret plot to get Britain out of the EU’ declared David Lidington on the Sunday Politics. In an interview with Andrew Neil, the Europe Minister was determinedly vague on the issue of what powers the next Conservative manifesto will seek a mandate to repatriate. But he made clear that the free movement of people is not going to be part of the renegotiation nor will Britain seek the right to strike its own trade deals with other countries.
Having given the speech, David Cameron and his team don’t want to give a running commentary on what they might or might not seek to change about Britain’s terms of EU membership. Indeed, I suspect that they would like to go into the next election seeking as vague as possible a mandate. They have no desire to set out any kind of renegotiation scorecard or to say anything that would prompt Berlin to publicly say ‘nein’ to renegotiation. The question is, though, whether events will force them to be more specific.