David Cameron is in Brussels today with the European Commission not hiding its irritation at the slow pace of the British renegotiation. One member of the Cabinet committee handling the renegotiation admits that ‘We were hoping to be further ahead than we are now’. Though, they blame the hold-up not on Britain being unclear about what it wants but on the migrant crisis taking up the time and attention of European leaders and the EU institutions.
The upshot of all this, though, is that the date for the referendum is slipping back. At the moment, autumn 2016 is the government’s preferred date. But members of the Cabinet, including those on the Europe committee, are increasingly talking about a 2017 date. Tellingly, I understand that the Cabinet committee hasn’t even discussed a date for the referendum yet.