Cameron's big opportunity to bring the Conservative family together
By Tim Montgomerie
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Things may have worked out almost perfectly for Cameron. By keeping his demands so modest (and not asking for any repatriation) he forged a negotiating position that ensured Liberal Democrat support. By Europe (and I mean France in particular) then acting so intransigently all Tories will now rally to the PM's side.
It's not often that uber-loyalist Louise Mensch MP and relentless critic Roger Helmer MEP agree but they did on Twitter this morning. Both acknowledged that the Prime Minister has done the right thing on Europe.
I hope Number 10 recognises the significance of this moment. I predict something that doesn't happen very often and that's a very good press in tomorrow's Mail, Sun, Telegraph and Express. There now needs to be a sustained campaign to build on this moment. "Sustained" is not something Team Cameron has always been good at. It loses interest in things too quickly. The follow up to the summer's riots, for example, decayed very quickly. Over the weekend the inner team should be sitting down and planning next steps. One of these steps should include a big picture speech from Cameron, setting out his vision of Britain and Europe. I suggest he makes it in Bruges. It should be as much about Britain as Europe. It should set out a future for Britain that is radically different from the broken EU model of high taxes, heavy regulation, protectionism and subsidy of vested interests like agriculture. The inner Cameron team should then be on the phone to every Tory MP, columnist, think tank leader and, yes, blogger and explain what they are planning. They should then keep in touch with all those people. This could be a big healing moment if Cameron gets it right.
> Today's earlier blog: After Europe says no to Britain's modest demands, Cameron says no to Europe