Barry Legg, Co-Chairman of the Bruges Group and former Chief Executive of the Conservative Party, issued the following statement in response to David Cameron’s post-Lisbon press conference:
“David Cameron has said ‘never again!’ will now be the hallmark of his European policy. Anyone listening to his press conference can only conclude that it’s ‘yet again’.
“Yet again a British politician has broken his promises on Europe. Yet again a would-be Prime Minister has promised us that if we elect him, everything is going to be different. And yet again, not one plausible detail is offered as to why.
“Having failed to deliver on his promise to oppose Lisbon in office, David Cameron now promises to oppose future treaties transferring power. The whole point of Lisbon is that it does away with such treaties in future. Does David Cameron really not understand this, or is he again trying to play games with words?
“If we take seriously what David Cameron now pledges, he says he means to equip Britain with the same defences against European federalism those two famed bulwarks against European integration, the German and Irish governments, are content with. Even if he actually passed into law a United Kingdom Sovereignty Act, the very fact that such a bill would already be complaint with existing European law proves that it would do nothing to improve Britain’s relationship with the EU.
“David Cameron very foolishly lectures us on ‘trust’. He says that ‘what people want from their politicians is some straight talk and plain speaking’. Yet what has David Cameron done? Far from setting out plainly before the British people what he would do in the event of Czech ratification of Lisbon, he steadfastly refused to. No matter how humiliating the empty formula of just wait and see became for Tory spokesmen bumbling in front of reporters, David Cameron wouldn’t let William Hague or anyone else admit what Tory policy would be once President Klaus was forced to give way. We can now all see why.
“Worse still, David Cameron refuses to say how he’ll able to convince every single other EU state to agree to hand back powers to Britain. He refuses to say what he’ll do if they don’t. He refuses to say what timescale he is working to. He refuses to say what he expects to give up in negotiations. Or does he take us for fools? Does he seriously expect us to believe, in defiance of every single precedent, we’ll get everything we want and won’t have to give up anything? Even Margaret Thatcher couldn’t do that. And David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher.
“Never mind the prospect of grassroots Tory resentment of David Cameron breaking his word risking ‘five more years of Brown’. With Prime Minister Cameron, we can be quite resigned to ‘thirty more years of the same’ as far as the EU is concerned. With his contemptuous surrender, David Cameron has provided Brussels with the icing on the Lisbon cake. They have nothing to fear from this man and they know it”.