Peter Hoskin

Boris: give us a referendum on Europe

Boris: give us a referendum on Europe
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Boris kicks off his Telegraph column today by observing that Colonel Gaddafi and Gordon Brown "look vaguely similar". And yet the really provocative copy, at least so far as the government is concerned, is reserved for the final paragraph:

"It is bonkers [by pushing for AV] to be pursuing the last manoeuvre of a cornered Gordon Brown. By all means let us have a referendum – the one we were promised, on the Lisbon EU Treaty. Have you noticed the EU policy on North Africa? Have you heard much from Baroness Ashton? Shouldn't we have a vote on all that?"

It's hardly a secret that Boris wanted a referendum on Lisbon: he said as much in an interview before the 2009 Tory conference, and irritated the party leadership in the process. But, so far as I can recall, it is some time since he last made the demand. This could even be the first time since the election, although CoffeeHousers might correct me.

In any case – coupled with Boris's recent, reinvigorated call for lower taxes – it seems that the detente which saw him and Cameron take on the unions side-by-side is wheezing to a close.