Friday, March 01, 2013

Cameron's jam

The result of the Eastleigh by-election leaves UKIP holding a gun to David Cameron’s head. If he refuses a referendum on EU membership before the next General Election then his party will lose.

The choice is simple. Nobody believes Cameron’s promise of jam tomorrow any more than they believe his promised referendum will be a straightforward in-out choice.

The Prime Minister himself is a committed European. He has often said he does not believe Britain should withdraw from the EU so he will do everything in his power to ensure the people never get a straightforward chance to decide the question.

Unless he holds an early referendum, UKIP will scoop up votes at a General Election in constituencies across the country. And that will deprive several Tory MPs – Eurosceptics among them – of their seats and their party of any chance of forming the next Government.

It will allow Ed Miliband to form the next Government, probably without the assistance of his friends among the Liberal Democrats.

That is not an outcome many people would relish but it looks highly probable unless the Tories can neutralise the threat of UKIP.

There is only one way of doing so. Cameron has his fate in his own hands.

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