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David Cameron tells Cabinet that an EU referendum would tear Coalition apart

By Tim Montgomerie
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The brilliant Dr Lee Rotherham has produced a paper for The TaxPayers' Alliance on a repatriation strategy which David Cameron could pursue at the looming Treaty talks. Page 8 of the full document (PDF) is particularly relevant - Lee provides a list of ten occasions when member states have played hardball in previous negotiations. Cameron gave the game away in Cabinet yesterday, however. He doesn't want to fight for a radical new deal that would be put to a referendum. He told his Cabinet colleagues that a referendum would tear the Coalition apart and couldn't be countenanced.

Lee Rotherham's paper reveals that David Cameron once took a more ambitious view of what was possible. In 2004 Mr Cameron wrote a briefing paper for Michael Howard and this is what it contained:

“Our prosperity and security also depend on transforming our relationship with the EU, which is stuck in the past and unfit for this new Century. British citizens must be able to change laws by voting out British politicians. The EU already sets over half our laws and costs every household £1,000 per year. It suffers high unemployment and the auditors have rejected its accounts for a decade because of fraud. We should not give European politicians and courts more power, especially over the rights of criminals, policing, and civil liberties. Britain will be more prosperous and secure if we keep the pound, say no to the Constitution, and take back powers over trade, work and civil rights. Britain should be working with America and others in Europe and around the world to create a new global trade and defence alliance to expand trade and strengthen security.”

“Giving away power in the hope of influencing the EU has been tried for decades and the EU just gets more power over British life and uses it badly. We should be taking back power, not handing more over.”

“Change our relationship with the EU so that crucial powers are brought back, such that we are better able to adapt to the new Century and out political culture stops atrophying in proportion to its irrelevance.”

Mr Cameron was right then but wrong now.


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