This morning sees early evidence of the difficulties David Cameron will face on Europe, if he ends up leading a minority government or has a very slim majority.
The Spanish presidency has set out proposals to amend the Lisbon Treaty in order to allow 18 additional MEPs to take up their seats (read Bruno Waterfield for background). The Conservative Party’s Eurosceptic wing sniffs an opportunity: maybe this will allow a new PM to throw the entire treaty back up in the air.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance leads the charge:
It has been widely assumed that the hope of a Lisbon Treaty referendum was dead and buried, but this development brings it back to the fore. David Cameron has always claimed that had he been in Government when the Lisbon Treaty passed through Parliament then he would have held a referendum. Will he now promise to hold a referendum on this new version of the Lisbon Treaty if he is in charge after the General Election? […]
Grasping this opportunity would be popular, strategically shrewd and – perhaps most importantly of all – honourable to the spirit as well as the letter of the Conservatives’ EU pledges. The failure to grasp it would not only be astonishingly shortsighted; it would be the final brutal betrayal of the pledges made to the British people in a general election – the election of 2005.
This is a storm in a teacup, it seems to me – but it’s a sign, surely, of battles to come.
If he emerges from the election as PM, I expect David Cameron will need votes from Labour and Lib Dems if he is to avoid a series of fruitless rows with the UK’s European partners.
[Read the rest of our After the Vote series.]