David Cameron’s plan to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the European Union has long been regarded as a major obstacle to a second Tory-Lib Dem coalition. But, as I report in the Mail on Sunday, this is no longer the case.
The Lib Dem logic is essentially that any deal that other European leaders are prepared to offer Cameron is one that they can accept as well. One Clegg confidant tells me that when it comes to the renegotiation, ‘It is not us David Cameron is going to have a problem with but the Tories.’ Indeed, there are parts of the renegotiation that the Liberal Democrats are already on board with. Clegg is fully supportive of the tightening up of the benefit rules for EU migrants that Employment Minister Esther McVey will announce on Wednesday.
There are still differences between the Tory and Lib Dem leaderships when it comes to Europe. Nick Clegg would never even threaten to leave the EU. While Cameron is keeping this option on the table because it might be the key to getting the best EU deal possible. But despite starting from quite different places, the two party leaderships essentially end up in the same place on Europe.