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EU Referendum

Now Cameron turns nasty with savage attack on Boris: Simmering feud bursts into the open as PM accuses his rival of backing the Out campaign just to further his dream of getting the top job

  • Observer compared parliamentary clash to Howe and Thatcher in 1990
  • Tory MPs urged Cameron to show more respect and ‘be nice to Boris’
  • PM delivered his broadside during three-hour session at Westminster
  • Was presenting his much-criticised Brussels renegotiation deal to MPs 

In a packed Commons chamber, David Cameron accused his long-standing rival of backing the Out campaign solely to further his dream of becoming PM.

‘I’m not standing for re-election,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘I have no other agenda than what is best for our country.’

Prime Minister David Cameron Mayor of London Boris Johnson
 Commons attack: David Cameron (left) accused his long-standing rival Boris Johnson (right, both pictured yesterday) of backing the Out campaign solely to further his dream of becoming Prime Minister

Decision: The pound suffered its worst day in seven years after Mr Johnson (centre) joined the Leave camp

Decision: The pound suffered its worst day in seven years after Mr Johnson (centre) joined the Leave camp


Shaking his head, Mr Johnson responded: ‘Rubbish, rubbish.’

One observer said the parliamentary exchange was jaw-dropping; another described it as the most savage ‘blue on blue’ clash since Geoffrey Howe took on Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

Tory MPs urged Mr Cameron to show more respect for opposing views and ‘be nice to Boris’. In another day of high drama:
  • Downing Street published a dossier saying leaving the EU would push up air fares and phone bills, put jobs at risk and make it harder to track foreign criminals;
  • Eurosceptics dismissed the taxpayer-funded paper as a product of ‘Project Fear’;
  • The pound suffered its worst day in seven years after Mr Johnson joined the Leave camp;
  • Mr Cameron claimed the only world leader who wanted Britain to quit the Brussels club was Russia’s Vladimir Putin;
  • No 10 admitted being behind a letter signed by FTSE 100 bosses that warns of the dangers of Britain quitting the EU;
  • A number of firms have refused to sign it, saying the decision lay with voters;
  • More Tory ministers joined the Out campaign, which is on course to win the support of around half the parliamentary party.

Mr Cameron delivered his broadside during a three-hour session at Westminster in which he presented his much-criticised Brussels renegotiation deal to MPs.

Comparison: One observer described the parliamentary exchange as the most savage ‘blue on blue’ clash since Geoffrey Howe took on Margaret Thatcher in 1990. The Tory politicians are pictured together in 1986


Russian president: Mr Cameron claimed the only world leader who wanted Britain to quit the Brussels club was Vladimir Putin (pictured yesterday at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow)


He was already under huge pressure after the defections of London mayor Mr Johnson and the Prime Minister’s close friend and Cabinet heavyweight Michael Gove to the Out camp over the weekend.

VOTE TO LEAVE EU ‘WILL BE FINAL’

David Cameron yesterday declared that the result of the June 23 referendum would be binding, with no ‘second chance’.

The PM told MPs that, within hours of a vote to quit, he would formally notify Brussels.

Under article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it would give the UK only two years to negotiate new trade deals and other matters.

Aides said he wanted to quash the idea that, if Britain voted out, it would then be able to go back to Brussels for a better deal and a second referendum.

But Mr Cameron said a second poll was ‘not on the ballot paper’.

In a Commons statement, he warned: ‘For a prime minister to ignore the express will of the British people to leave the EU would not just be wrong; it’d be undemocratic.’

Out campaign director Dominic Cummings argued it would be irrational to invoke article 50 immediately.

Tory MPs said it was yet more evidence of Mr Cameron seeking to deploy Project Fear.

The row centred on London mayor Boris Johnson’s declaration on Sunday that he would be campaigning to leave.

No 10 and the In campaign claimed it was Mr Johnson’s intention to campaign for an Out vote then, when secured, use it to reopen talks with Brussels. But sources close to the mayor denied this.

With increasing numbers of Tory MPs declaring for Out, No 10 is facing the prospect of more than half of the parliamentary party – estimated at 150 – opposing the PM.

Mr Cameron struck a defiant tone and repeated his warning that the Leave campaign was calling for a ‘leap in the dark’.

But the session exploded into life when the PM turned to the question of whether Britain could vote to leave the EU, then immediately reopen negotiations to stay.

Mr Johnson has faced claims that he does not want to leave permanently. Rather, his critics said, he wants to lead Britain out of the EU then back in again, but on better terms.

The mayor denies this. But Mr Cameron said: ‘On diplomacy, the idea that other European countries would be ready to start a second negotiation is for the birds.

‘I have known a number of couples who have begun divorce proceedings but I do not know of any who have begun divorce proceedings in order to renew their marriage vows.’

No 10 sources strongly denied the divorce remark had been aimed at Mr Johnson, who is on his second marriage.

Labour MPs delighted in the PM’s attack, crying ‘more, more’. Mr Cameron referred to them as his ‘new friends’.

Mr Cameron later attended a 30-minute meeting of the Tory 1922 Committee. Steve Baker MP suggested the PM had succumbed to a ‘moment of high drama’ over Mr Johnson.

He added: ‘A couple of us mentioned Boris. I said, “I know it’s hard, but please be kind to Boris.” There was a peal of laughter. Of course he is going to be kind to Boris, he’s going to be respectful to all colleagues.

‘They are people who have known each other for a long time. It’s a moment of high drama and I felt for Boris, but Boris is taking quite a beating at the moment in the press, and obviously he took perhaps a little bruise in the Commons, but he’s a big man.’

Mr Cameron arrived at the meeting to a muted welcome but left with his arm around Eurosceptic Philip Davies.

Friends of Mr Johnson said: ‘He’s not remotely angry or bothered. He didn’t even notice the jibe on marriage and elections. He feels what matters is that the country hears the arguments on both sides – no side wins by attacking the other.’

I’m not standing for re-election. I have no other agenda than what is best for our country
Prime Minister David Cameron 

As he left the Commons on his bicycle, Mr Johnson replied ‘No’ when asked if there was a civil war within the Conservative Party. ‘It’s glutinous harmony’, he added.

Mark Wallace, of the Tory grassroots website Conservative Home, said: ‘Jaw-dropping decision by Cameron to fire shots in anger against Boris.’

Last night, there were reports that even pro-EU MPs are despairing of the PM, with one telling C4 News: ‘Cameron is toast. He and the entire project is over. Continuity through George, or whoever, is over.

‘The next leader will come before the end of the year and it’ll be someone in the next generation.’

 Outers: PM’s EU deal falls ‘far short’ of reform needed, say rebels

Backing: Defence minister Penny Mordaunt gave her approval to a report by senior Conservatives

David Cameron’s EU deal falls ‘far short’ of the reform that is needed, a report by senior Conservatives said yesterday.

In a devastating analysis, the Fresh Start group of more than 100 Tory MPs said he had tried to secure reform in only half the areas where it is required.

In the other half, it found, his attempts at reform had been frustrated by fellow EU leaders.

Overall, the study concluded that Mr Cameron failed to fully achieve reform in any of the 21 areas where change is needed.

The findings were backed by a string of senior Tories, including employment minister Priti Patel, energy minister Andrea Leadsom, defence minister Penny Mordaunt, environment minister George Eustice and local government minister James Wharton.

In a statement, they said the EU had failed to ‘rise to the occasion’ and embrace reform, and urged voters to back Brexit.

Justice minister Dominic Raab, a leading member of the Fresh Start group, said the EU’s refusal to respect Britain’s demand for a looser relationship showed that the only option was to leave.

He added: ‘The fact that the deal falls so far short reflects the crucial flaw in the EU: It’s just too rigid to change. If we want to deliver more jobs, lower household bills and stronger democracy, we’ve got to step off the Brussels juggernaut now that we have the opportunity.’

The Fresh Start group was founded five years ago to draw up proposals for reshaping Britain’s relationship with Brussels. It includes many mainstream Tories and several prominent Eurosceptics.

In a joint statement yesterday, leading members praised Mr Cameron for his efforts at reform, but said they were ‘disappointed that fellow European leaders did not take this opportunity to make the reforms that Europe so desperately needs’.


Grassroots Tories: We want to defy Cameron and support Brexit

Set to be defied: Local councillors lined up to say they were ‘hacked off’ with Mr Cameron (pictured leaving Downing Street yesterday)
Set to be defied: Local councillors lined up to say they were ‘hacked off’ with Mr Cameron (pictured leaving Downing Street yesterday)

Interviews with constituency chairmen, officials and councillors from across the country show the scale of the challenge facing the Prime Minister in keeping the Tories from imploding over the issue.

Of 68 constituency parties contacted by The Guardian, only two said a majority of members were in favour of remaining in the European Union.

Some 17 reported a majority in favour of leaving. The others either said there was a 50-50 split in the ranks, or refused to respond.

Local councillors lined up to say they were ‘hacked off’ with Mr Cameron, with one saying that ‘all eyes’ were on London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has come out for Leave.

Lisa Parker, a councillor from Rugby, said she was disgusted by how the party was dealing with the issue.

‘We’ve had to consult 27 countries just to talk about reform,’ she said. ‘We’ve sold this country out and we’re being ruled by the European Union – by people who hate us, who loathe us.

‘I’ll be voting out, and campaigning every weekend. For the first time in my life I’m questioning if this is the party for me.’

EU MIGRANTS WILL GET MORE CHILD BENEFIT UNDER PM’S DEAL

Britain will be forced to pay higher rates of child benefit to some EU migrants with children living in other countries under David Cameron’s deal, officials in Brussels confirmed yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s agreement allows payments to such workers to be made at ‘local rates’ after he failed to deliver on his manifesto for an outright ban on payments being sent abroad.

But yesterday an EU official said the rates for some countries could end up being higher than those currently paid because they would need to be adjusted according to the local cost of living.

That means some EU migrants working in the UK would get paid more in child benefit than British workers raising their children here.

David Sanders, a councillor in Peterborough, said of Mr Cameron: ‘He didn’t nail the deal. It wasn’t a bad effort but he didn’t do nearly enough to change my mind. I’ll be campaigning to leave.

‘Mrs Thatcher would have nailed it. He hasn’t been strong enough with EU colleagues. His best just hasn’t been good enough.’

Councillor David Tee, from Warley, said his constituency party was divided, with some members ‘waiting to see what senior members of the Conservative Party choose to do – eyes are on figures like Boris Johnson’.

Liz Harsant, chairman of the Ipswich constituency party, said: ‘They are all for out at the moment. Our MP, health minister Ben Gummer, is in favour of staying but frankly we all want to leave.’

Ken Worthy, chairman of the Claygate and Hinchley Wood branch of Esher and Walton Conservatives in Surrey, said: ‘The constituency officers are in favour of staying but, from what I have heard, most of the members want to leave, probably about three-quarters, though this can only be a guess.’

Cambridge constituency party chairman Simon Lee said: ‘We discuss the issue a lot and there are strong feelings on both sides but it hasn’t got too violent yet. We have our meetings, discuss the EU and then go to the pub and shake hands.’


The hatred is now naked… it leaves a metallic tang on the tongue: QUENTIN LETTS watches the PM get personal as he belittles Brexit Boris in the Commons

Petulant and patronising, Prime Minister. David Cameron used Westminster’s bully pulpit to belittle Boris Johnson. In the vacuum pod of the Commons it worked. Mr Cameron won cheers, laughter from the Labour benches – yes, Labour – while Mr Johnson muttered ‘rubbish’ several times.

Opposition MPs cried ‘more! more! more!’ Mr Cameron looked exceedingly pleased with himself. Creamy self-pleasure. ‘That’s shown Boris!’ he may have thought.

But out in the nation? Beyond the chi-chi citadel – in those provincial fens where few can hope to swoosh to Strasbourg and Brussels on bring-your-squeeze freebies – such Commons barbs will make sparse impact.

Mr Cameron in the Commons Mr Johnson in the Commons

The lasting effect may only be to stir Mayor Johnson’s competitive juices. He must now know he is in a fight and will need to campaign with all his ardour for the ‘Leave’ vote. Mr Cameron has made it stingingly, nastily personal.

Tory leader in name alone – not now in spirit, nor possibly ever again – Mr Cameron came to the House to tell MPs about his European negotiation.

He entered the House shortly before 3.30pm. A few of his trusties expressed vocal acclaim at the sight of him. Many more sat in silence.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband turned up. George Osborne slunk in (to total silence from his side – he walks these days with the gait of a fox).

No Gove or Whittingdale or Patel, to name three of the Cabinet ‘Leave EU’ gang. They had stayed away but Iain Duncan Smith was standing in his normal place near the double doors.

Mr Cameron did some looking round at his benches, doing emphatic chin-drops to drudges he wished to encourage.

The PM won cheers, laughter from the Labour benches while Mr Johnson muttered ‘rubbish’ several times

Let them see that he had spotted them, acknowledge them, show a manly gesture of pumped lips and a tweak of the head: he is clever at this sort of thing. He even engaged Commons Leader Chris Grayling in conversation. Leave-man Grayling is the sort of ruminant Mr Cameron would happily ignore at a drinks party.

Appearance: Former Labour leader Ed Miliband turned up at the House of Commons yesterday
Appearance: Former Labour leader Ed Miliband turned up at the House of Commons yesterday

When long-standing Tory Eurosceptics challenged him, Mr Cameron treated them with a modicum of weary civility. The only one he was interested in spearing, in KILLING, was Boris.

Lord knows what words and promises passed between the two of them in recent weeks but the hatred, on Mr Cameron’s part, is now naked. Peevish.

It leaves a metallic tang on the tongue.

First, he mocked Mr Johnson’s floating of the idea that a Leave vote will bring the over-mighty EU to its senses and secure a better future for Britain. ‘I have known a number of couples who have begun divorce proceedings,’ he said, rolling the words round the front of his mouth, ‘but I do not know any who have begun divorce proceedings in order to renew their marriage vows.’

This won, from Labour, a bark of laughter the like of which I have not heard since the day Geoffrey Howe attacked Mrs Thatcher.

A barb about divorce – aimed at the libidinous Boris? This was more than tart. It was gratuitously personal.

With an angry tremor in his voice, Mr Cameron said ‘I am not standing for re-election. I have no other agenda than what is best for our country.’ He said he would speak up for his country ‘for the next four months’ – an acceptance, perhaps, that his premiership is in peril.

The simplest MP grasped that Mr Cameron was, with these words, accusing his opponent of greedy ambition.

This was scintillatingly, recklessly vicious, a rare public glimpse of Cameron the crass autocrat

He was saying that Boris had ‘an agenda’. He was playing the man, not that rugby ball that Boris once mentioned.

For a Prime Minister to impute low motives to a senior colleague – particularly one who had gone out of his way to praise him on Sunday – and to do so from the parliamentary pill-box: this was scintillatingly, recklessly vicious, a rare public glimpse of Cameron the crass autocrat.

The Tory benches behind? They did not like it. Not since Moses did his trick with the Red Sea has there been such salt-sour division.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3459304/Now-Cameron-turns-nasty-PM-s-savage-attack-Boris-backing-campaign.html

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