The Commons has a rather listless feel to it at the moment. Today’s PMQs will not live long in the memory. Ed Miliband’s strategy was to get David Cameron to say as often as possible that he wants to stay in the EU, with the hope that this would drive a wedge between Cameron and his backbenchers. This tactic was, as far as it went, quite effective. Cameron repeatedly said that he wanted to stay in a reformed EU, and wasn’t prepared to say explicitly that he would be prepared to campaign for an exit if he didn’t get what he wanted out of the renegotiation.
Labour believe, with justification, that their opposition to an EU referendum is their best calling card with big business; it is no coincidence that Miliband launched this attack just days before he is due to address the CBI conference. But setting himself against giving the public a vote on Europe isn’t a risk-free approach in the current anti-politics environment.