David Cameron calls off his Europe speech
By Peter Hoskin
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The speculation and anticipation surrounding David Cameron's Europe speech had already reached fever pitch — but now it will have simmer on for a while longer. Downing St has decided to postponse the whole thing. It will no longer happen in the Netherlands tomorrow. You'll have to re-read all of this week's EU-related ConHome posts at an undefined time in the future
The reason for the delay? A very serious and understandable one: Mr Cameron would rather remain in the country to montior the situation in Algeria. There are few certainties emerging from the gas fields in the east of the country, where terrorists have killed and captured British nationals and others, but one of them is this: it doesn't look good. There are reports that up to 50 people are already dead, as the rescue operation grinds along.
Against such a tragic backdrop, Mr Cameron has made the right decision. A speech that has been delayed numerous times already can be delayed again, whereas the unfolding tragedy in Algeria demands urgency. No wonder Tory MPs, such as Liam Fox, are tweeting in support of the Prime Minister this evening.
But there could still be political rammifications from this delay. The longer it goes on, the longer Westminster has to pick through the speech — or an imagined version of the speech — in advance. Expectations may become even more difficult to meet; parties like Ukip will try to fill the dead space with mischief.
We do not know when the speech will be rescheduled for. It could be days; it could, conceivably, be weeks. We shall let you know as soon as we hear.