James Forsyth

The Europe question won’t dominate conference but it hasn’t gone away

The Europe question won’t dominate conference but it hasn’t gone away
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There is a reluctant acceptance here that Lisbon will have been ratified by next May and that the Tories won’t hold a post-ratification referendum. But it is important to understand why the leadership is getting away with a position that is so unpopular with the grassroots. Partly it is a reflection of the fact that the party has rediscovered its discipline, it wants to win again and is prepared to swallow quite a lot on the way. But more important is that the party believes the leadership is Euro-sceptic; that Cameron is--to use Bruce Anderson’s phrase—not tainted by ‘federasty’.

The view here is that if Cameron doesn’t have the time to fight over Lisbon, he’ll still block any further moves to ‘ever closer union.’ The question is, will he? I suspect that a Tory government would block any other big set piece treaty and push to revive the British opt out from the social chapter. But whether they would fight the daily legislative creep from Brussels is less certain.