Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Cameron plays down EU split

David Cameron has come under a bit of pressure over his position on the Lisbon Treaty. Recently, he's claimed to support a referendum on the Treaty but now appears to have back-pedalled a bit.

This comes after Irish voters, at the second time of asking, gave their government the "Yes" vote it wanted to ratify the Treaty. A victory for the "if at first you don't get your way, keep trying till you do" kind of government.

Ireland's "Yes" vote means that Mr Cameron has been asked what action he will take if the Lisbon Treaty comes into force before the next election. His response so far has been to say nothing, arguing that doing so would undermine discussions taking place in Poland and the Czech Republic, which are expected to ratify shortly.

It's made life a bit difficult for the Tory leader, who would rather not be talking about Europe. But he hasn't really helped himself. You see, the Tory promise of a referendum was on the basis of "his party winning power before the treaty is ratified by all 27 EU states".

An apparent rift between Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson has created further problems for the Tory leader.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said that the Irish "Yes" vote "finally puts to rest years of wrangling over Europe’s future and paves the way for a stronger and more democratic European Union." He added that "the worst thing would be to re-open this self-indulgent debate...The Conservatives are already embarrassing themselves...on Europe...The EU offers us safety in numbers and this is why best place for Britain remains at the very heart of Europe.”

It will be interesting to see what the Tories make of this in the days to come. It seems that the old divisions on Europe will soon be painfully obvious.

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