As many Britons return from their holidays, David Cameron is off around Europe this week to continue his renegotiation battle. Europe’s migration crisis, which you may think would help the case for a British no vote, might just work in the Prime Minister’s favour as Germany has floated the idea of curbs to free movement rules – a Cameron demand – as a solution. EU politicians have previously rubbished such an idea, insisting that free movement is “fundamental”, but now we report that Angela Merkel has suggested that the EU may need to bring back border controls.
David Cameron is still far from home and dry, with the FT splashing on his decision to scrap demands for a British opt out from EU labour rules. The move will give trade unions more reason to support his renegotiated terms of EU membership in the referendum as part of the “Yes” campaign. It may also save him from having to face the populist might of Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage arguing – together – for Brexit. The Ukip leader has already indicated his party will launch its own anti-EU campaign, but may now find it harder to win left-wing support.
However, Cameron’s climb-down on excluding Britain from the full rage of EU employment and social laws risks disappointing many Eurosceptics. Some of them will remember Cameron’s promise in 2009 that a Tory government would “want to negotiate the return of Britain’s opt-out from social and employment legislation”. Will these words haunt him? Boris Johnson has been quick off the mark, calling the FT’s report “very disappointing” and hinting that he could vote to leave the EU.
The Prime Minister’s team may have been feeling breezily confident in recent weeks as focus has been on Labour’s nervous breakdown over Jeremy Corbyn’s rise. But after the Labour leadership election is over, Tory unity will be tested as David Cameron’s renegotiation continues. With the Prime Minister potentially facing down MEPs over his renegotiation plans this autumn, the battle is far from over.
CORBYN: VEST IS BEST
After appearing to ditch his £1.50 vest in favour of an ironed blue shirt, Jeremy Corbyn is sporting his trademark vests once more. “Well done, Mr Corbyn, for rejecting the PR-crazed image-makers and keeping the vest,” we say. “You may be a misguided ideologue who will lead your party to ruin, but at least you’ll be cosy and warm as you do it.”
A new batch of e-mails have been released which show Hillary Clinton received a stream of warnings about senior Conservative figures in the days after they took power in the 2010 election. Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend of Mrs Clinton’s and a Labour ally, told the then-US secretary of state that David Cameron would be “no partner” to the US on the global economy and that William Hague would be “disingenuous” in his dealings with her. You can read more details about the Clinton correspondence – including details of a “cynical double game” by Peter Mandelson to become foreign secretary if Labour survived the 2010 election.
TOUGH ON BEEB, TOUGH ON THE CAUSES OF BEEB…
David Cameron refused to give the job of Culture Secretary to anybody who would be “soft on the BBC”, a minister has suggested. Anna Soubry, the minister for small business who attends Cabinet meetings, indicated that the Prime Minister appointed John Whittingdale as Culture Secretary in his post-election reshuffle because he knew that he would be tough on the BBC.
Scotland’s shopkeepers have warned Nicola Sturgeon that increasing income tax would backfire on the public purse as she promised to start spelling out how she intends to use Holyrood’s new powers in her programme for government today, Simon Johnson reports. The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said increasing the levy would reduce Scots’ disposable incomes and cast a “pall” over consumer confidence, thereby reducing their spending levels and damaging the Scottish economy.
IF CARLSBERG DID GAFFES…
A Conservative councillor is being investigated by council chiefs after sharing a photo of a boat full of 14 naked women with a caption reading: “If Carlsberg did illegal immigrants.” Mike Kusneraitis, on the Tory-run Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey, said he should be judged on his actions in the community, not by “misjudged postings on social media”.