Apart from the admission that the PM and Osbo are terrified of Boris Johnson, the memoirs of David Laws in the Mail on Sunday contain far more damaging admissions.The Mail on Sunday reported: “He (Cameron) called the EU referendum as a ‘party management issue’ to keep ‘mad’ Right-wing Tory MPs at bay – and had little idea how he would get a better deal from Brussels.
The book also appears to confirm Westminster’s worst-kept secret: Cameron was bounced into the EU referendum by Nigel Farage and Tory Eurosceptics and knew all along he had little chance of winning real concessions from Brussels.
Similarly, when Clegg said the renegotiation would backfire if he failed to win back key powers, a ‘sheepish’ Cameron said: ‘I know, that’s why I’m not spelling out what I am going to negotiate on.’A few days later, the Prime Minister still struggled to explain his negotiating strategy to Clegg.
As Nick told me later: ‘I told Cameron that I just didn’t understand his strategy. I said either your renegotiation is just going to be symbolic and insubstantial, like Harold Wilson’s in the 1970s. In which case, what’s the point? Or you are going to have to go for a full renegotiation, which you may never achieve with other countries on this timescale.’
Cameron looked pretty sheepish, and just said: ‘I know, Nick. That’s why I won’t be spelling out for some time what I am going to negotiate on.’ Meanwhile the PM was insisting to Britain if he did not achieve total reform, he would campaign for Leave!
The PM’s attempt to brazen out the situation in the House of Commons has deeply damaged his reputation, maybe fatally. Fundamentally, he lied about “the good deal for Britain, “not only to voters but to his MPs in the House.