How damaging is the EPP climb-down to Cameron?
With the reverberations from the Lord Levy continuing to dominate the headlines the Indpendent is reporting that the Conservatives will today announce that David Cameron’s plan to leave the EPP Group in the European Parliament is being “shelved until 2009”.
So while the NuLab spin machine is frantically trying to recover from Levy the Tories will be dealing with their own bad news which had to come out sometime. They’ll be hoping it won’t get much attention.
The original plan for Tory MEPS to leave the EPP was announced by Cameron during the Tory leadership campaign last year and was very much welcomed by the Euro-sceptical part of the party because the EPP grouping is seen as too intergrationist. Since then the campaign promise has proved to be a great embarrassment to the leader because the issue is not as simple as it appeared.
The move was opposed by many Tory MEPs and William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, has been trying to find a solution. According to the reports the plan remains intact but that it is being delayed.
With Cameron coming under increasing criticism from the right of his party for the direction he is taking it anything that reignites the EU issue could be very dangerous
In the short-term the Tory spin strategy today will probably be quite effective. The vast majority of people have no idea what the EPP is and it will run towards the end of TV news running orders if it gets any mention at all. In the long-term, however, it does not solve the running sore within the party of Europe which will not go away.