In a significant leader this morning, the Times urges the Prime Minister to listen to Boris Johnson over his EU negotiations, TheTimes refers to the 16 page document from Donald Tusk.The Times leader says: “His fate, and Britain’s, rests on a 16-page prospectus published yesterday by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. It will be fought over line by line for the next two weeks. But the very fact that it has been drafted by Mr Tusk rather than the British government betrays a depressing truth about this vaunted renegotiation. Mr Cameron has approached it from the start as a supplicant, not a true reformer.
The document promises little of substance. Today’s headlines focus on an “emergency brake” on EU migrants’ benefits that would be gradually released almost as soon as it was applied, assuming the EU agreed to apply it. The proposals also include a “red card” for national parliaments opposed to European laws, but only if more than half of them unite in opposition. There is an undertaking (but not a formal protocol) to exempt Britain from the drift to “ever closer union”, and another brake on EU banking union in case the Treasury decides it needs one.”
Boris Johnson has said we need much, much more. The Times goes on to say: “This was supposed to be a radically reformed relationship with a more streamlined and accountable EU. It looks instead as if Mr Cameron has contented himself with whatever an unreformed union is willing to offer to keep Britain in the club.”
The main flaw of Mr. Cameron’s strategy has been this. The Times says: “Unfortunately his sherpas have never negotiated with the conviction of a team prepared to leave the table if not taken seriously. ”
The Times concludes ominously “As the steeplechase builds to a climax, another race for the Tory leadership is under way. The winner will be whoever identifies this country’s interests most clearly, and fights for them. It is by no means clear that that person will be a supporter of Mr Tusk’s inadequate offer. “