David Cameron has warned his European colleagues that there will be ‘consequences’ if they support Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment today. He’s already seeing the consequences back home, with eurosceptics who are broadly supportive of his position still getting their advice out early on how he can deal with the disappointment of losing the battle. John Baron has today called for more detail from the Prime Minister on what he wants from the renegotiation. He said:
‘Having played the man, we now need to play the ball. We need greater clarity regarding out reform agenda in order to both better form alliances across the EU and convince a sceptical public at home that we are serious about reform.
‘Vague promises about ‘a better deal for Britain’ will no longer wash. One example needs to be reform of the ‘Freedom of Movement’ principle, which is now past its sell-by date given the EU has 28 members with disparate living standards and wages. Pressure on infrastructure requires action.’
It will be interesting to see how far Baron pushes his demand for clarity, and how easy he finds it to take colleagues with him. Many eurosceptics are keen for a little bit of silence on the matter of the renegotiation, for the simple reason that they think it better for the party to pull together until the general election and then really start to hammer the Prime Minister, if he’s still the Prime Minister, on the detail of his reform package. But Cameron may still be hoping that he can get enough of a ‘downpayment’ from Angela Merkel for the renegotiation as a consolation prize from the Juncker row that any clamour for further detail is satisfied.