Conservative Diary

« Rolling record of Tory policy announcements at the Manchester Conservative Party Conference | Main | Com Res and YouGov both put Tory lead at 12% »

Cameron makes it clear that there will be no shift of European policy in Manchester

Ireland will say 'yes' to Lisbon today - and at 3pm the BBC reported the Irish Prime Minister as confirming this.

Cameron,-Osborne-and-Hague David Cameron has made it clear in an email to supporters that there will be no shift in Conservative policy:

"I want to make one thing clear: there will be no change in our policy on Europe and no new announcements at the Conference. There will be no change in Conservative policy as long as the Lisbon Treaty is still not in force. The Treaty has still not been ratified by the Czechs and the Poles. The Czech Prime Minister has said that the constitutional challenge before the Czech Constitutional Court could take 3-6 months to resolve. I have said repeatedly that I want us to have a referendum. If the Treaty is not ratified in all Member States and not in force when the election is held, and if we are elected, then we will hold a referendum on it, we will name the date of the referendum in the election campaign, we will lead the campaign for a ‘No’ vote. If the Treaty is ratified and in force in all Member States, we have repeatedly said we would not let matters rest there. But we have one policy at a time, and we will set out how we would proceed in those circumstances if, and only if, they happen."

The immediate message is clear: David Cameron does not want the Manchester Party Conference overshadowed by the issue of Europe.

But there is also a wider message: David Cameron does not want his leadership overshadowed by the issue of Europe.

ConservativeHome's new poll of grassroots Tories shows that only 16% say ratification of Lisbon should be accepted.

Tim Montgomerie

8.15pm update: Ian Taylor, the Chairman of the Conservative Group for Europe, has issued the following statement:

"With the Irish deciding "yes" the Lisbon Treaty is nearly in place. On behalf of the Conservative Europe Group, I welcome this outcome.

"The Lisbon Treaty is not without its critics but it is right that stream-lining decision making in the 27 nation EU takes place. It is right that scrutiny in national and the European Parliament is to be enhanced. The UK is a full member of the EU so it is not in our interests for it to be less than effective in dealing with some crucial issues.  For Conservatives, continuing to try to keep the debate open is a distraction when as an incoming government we have big domestic and international policy challenges on which to concentrate. We need to choose the right battles to fight.

"A Conservative Government will need to work closely with other European countries to tackle issues such as climate change, terrorism, energy shortfalls, migration, Russian real-politik, the Middle East as well as achieving more co-ordinated defence and security approaches. These are not things any government can resolve in isolation.

"In Germany there is a renewed vigour from the centre-right coalition. They should be our allies in ensuring the single market is protected and extended.  If we are to achieve Conservative objectives, we have to work closely with friendly governments.  The EU is about advancing national interests through influence, collaboration and compromise - unfamiliar perhaps in the UK but we had better adapt quickly if we are to succeed in advancing our agenda."


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.