The PM and Osbo have given a masterclass in how NOT to conduct a negotiation, says Oborne

In the Mail on Saturday, Peter Oborne spells out the disastrous consequences for the PM and Osborne is they proceed with this charade of a deal. Extracts from Peter Oborne’s brilliant article are given below:PMstressedOborne says: “For Mr Cameron himself, this has been a professional and personal calamity.  It is now obvious that he has failed to honour his promise to the British people that he would obtain ‘fundamental’ political reforms.

………. it rapidly became clear that Mr Cameron had no serious intention of delivering the fundamental reform that he had promised.

Incidentally, he would have done himself a favour if he had accepted Boris Johnson’s offer to be the British government’s chief negotiator — rather than give the job to Brussels stooge George Osborne.

For his part, David Cameron made another massive mistake. He dropped all pretence of being prepared to campaign for Britain’s withdrawal if any conditions he might make were not satisfied. He seemed to have become a signed-up member of the Stay campaign.

This was a huge tactical own-goal.

To sum up, over the past few months, Messrs Cameron and Osborne have given a masterclass in how NOT to carry out a negotiation

But I fear that when history is written, David Cameron will be remembered above all for this bungled negotiation over Europe.

He now has a stark choice. He can persist with his flawed strategy and recommend a deal to the British public which, in his heart, he must recognise as hopelessly inadequate and contrary to the country’s interests.

If he follows this path, though, he will be rightly mocked and derided as weak and hypocritical. Inevitably, his personal authority will be badly eroded.

He will be open to accusations that he has behaved like an estate agent trying to sell a property which he privately knows is not worth the price.

Ultimately, David Cameron’s legacy could well be as the prime minister who picked a fight with Europe and was so inept and weak-willed that he lost.

That said, there is — even now — a way that he can try to rescue his reputation.

But it would require huge guts and courage — which I fear is not in his nature.

He could announce that he had done his best in his negotiations with his 27 fellow EU leaders, but they were to blame for refusing to accept any sensible reforms.

Dramatically, he could then say that in view of such myopic intransigence at a time when the EU is facing huge challenges — particularly from migration — he has no alternative but to announce plans for Britain’s withdrawal.

He would be perfectly entitled to do this under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which stipulates: ‘Any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.’

Mr Cameron could then announce that he will be leading the Brexit campaign in the run-up to the referendum in June.”

Alternatively, he could cravenly accept this week’s Brussels charade and sign his own political death warrant.”

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