What would Tory EU rebels do if they were really serious?

It’s hard to describe the EU referendum issue as an object of the Tory Right. It’s too mainstream for that, there are even Labour MPs who support the proposal. Yet is is the Tory Right who are leading the charge and it’s not irrelevant that we arrive here with that group already feeling sidelined by the LibDem junior coalition partner.

But despite the fuss, I still think the EU rebels are holding back. They’re still thinking in an old politics frame of mind rather than recognising how the coalition has changed politics. The don’t yet understand the opportunity that has been handed to them in the new paradigm.

Tonight, 60 Conservative backbenchers could announce the formation of a new party. They could call it the Sovereign Conservative Party if they liked, perhaps with David Davis as their leader. It’s an interesting quirk of political law that what a party calls itself in the Commons is not regulated, only what it calls itself in an election or for fundraising purposes. So there would be no bar on using Conservative in the name.

If they did so, David Cameron’s options would be to allow parliament to dissolve with the party in disarray or to start coalition talks.

By my calculations, 60 MPs would net this new party about 5 Cabinet posts and about 15 assorted junior ministerial positions and if the EU referendum issue were the only policy demand, what choice would the Prime Minister have? I imagine the agreement would have to include a deal on readmission to the party and on suitability for candidacy too,
probably before next May’s local elections. But can you see any Conservative Association in the country being upset with that? And the LibDems can’t afford to leave the coalition until they have some positives to show for it, so they’re kind of stuck whatever the deal.

On this basis, the dissatisfied element of the Conservative Parliamentary Party can have everything it wants without impediment to their careers or election chances.

Or alternatively, David Davis can lead 60 backbenchers to resign from parliament and fight by-elections on the referendum issue. A somewhat more risky strategy.

But maybe the Tory Right is happy to cave in on Europe? Maybe they just want to make a bit of noise?

For clarification Alex would relish the opportunity to vote to stay in the EU

  • swatantra

    Just a bit of mischief making from MPs who’ve got nothing better to do.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    These people know what they are on about

  • LesAbbey

    And yet the EU was never an article of faith in the Labour Party. We can therefore deal with membership in a very opportunist way.

    Overall is it good for the citizens of the UK or not?

    Is the answer the same in both the long and short term views?

    That should be how we decide this question and it was a shame the leadership decided we need to whip the PLP into line.

  • swatantra

    Thats really taking the biscuit.
    These arguments were played out over a generation ago and there is no going back. The EU is of benefit to every citizen in this country although some of them don’t realise it yet. It has to be an poitical union as well as an economic union. But there may have been a mistake in expanding it to 27; some of the East European countries would have been better off in their own ComEcom and the Warsaw Pact. And even suggesting that Turkey be a member is simply ridiculous because Turkey is a Middle Eastern Power.

  • Anonymous

    Yes the EU is great for us, but only because the government of this country are so poor, we pay into the EU way to much and get back only a fraction, so perhaps if the governments had set up a fund to give the poorest areas a lift we would not need the EU.

    We hear that we would not be able to sell or do business with the EU if we pulled out! rubbish if we make something the EU wants it will buy it, the big problem for the EU right now it’s making little, selling little, and buying even less.

    The EU has been living a lie for so long Greece and Italy have been living in land cuckoo for so long. You cannot keep spending so much and without taxation and in the UK with Non Doms and people who are making profits here and not then paying tax Lord Sainbsbury good example, Vodafone another……

  • swatantra

    alex may relish the op to vote t stay in the eu, but i don’t.
    the great british public haven’t a clue about europe and are still prejudiced; its rather like capital punishment. eu referendum is unsafe in the hands of the gbp.
    dave has used his veto and virtually isolated britain; we are now just an insignificant offshore island off the european mainland. we are out in the cold,; exemplified by sarkozy ignoring cameron walking straight past him thus avoiding shaking his hand.
    of course the tory xenophobes greeted dave with cheers yesterday. nick was noticibly absent by his side. perhaps nick was visited by the spirit of europa past and future, and has seen the horrors ahead. in which case, he should pull the lib dems out of the coalition and let dave soldier on as a minority govt.