Fleet Street denounces the EU deal

Europe verdict 1: This deal stinks

Snip20160203_3Cameron is, on the whole, an excellent Prime Minister. But there is no getting away from it: his ‘renegotiation’ with Brussels has produced a steaming pile of manure. It is a dismal failure worse than we ever imagined. It will not improve one aspect of British life” – The Sun Says



Europe verdict 2: Boris is right

“It looks as if Mr Cameron has contented himself with whatever an unreformed union is willing to offer to keep Britain in the club… Boris Johnson…said there was ‘much, much more’ to be done, especially in defence of Westminster. He is milking Mr Cameron’s predicament for political advantage, but he is also right” – The Times editorial (£)

Europe verdict 3: The great delusion

Snip20160203_4“The Mail admires David Cameron… But on Europe, we have to say frankly his capacity for self-delusion is breathtaking. Yesterday, seemingly gripped by the conviction that he is securing a triumph for Britain, Mr Cameron made the hair-raising observation that he would urge the UK to join the EU on these terms, even if we were not already a member… Wouldn’t this be like buying a ticket for the Titanic after it struck the iceberg?” – Daily Mail comment

  • This sham will only make voters even more cynical – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • So much sound and fury, so little outcome – Daniel Hannan, Guardian
  • A deal full of spin and sell-outs – James Slack, Daily Mail

Europe verdict 4: Cameron is following in Wilson’s footsteps

“‘We do not pretend that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.’ These are not the words of David Cameron after the publication yesterday of a potential new EU deal but of Harold Wilson 40 years ago, before the last referendum on membership. In many ways, the current process echoes that of 1975” – Daily Telegraph

Europe verdict 5: Basically, this deal is a sham

“‘What we’ve got,’ said the Prime Minister, ‘is basically something I asked for.’ The key word there is ‘basically’. Not ‘actually’: ‘basically’. As in: erm, not quite. I asked for something, and I didn’t get it. But I more or less got something that’s sort of a bit vaguely like it. And that’s enough, isn’t it? You’ll take that, won’t you? Basically?” – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

And much news coverage is hostile:

Europe news 1: Benefit curbs “at the mercy of MEPs”

Snip20160203_5“Britain’s right to limit benefits for European Union migrants will be at the mercy of MEPs who can veto the move under watered-down reforms secured by David Cameron yesterday. The prime minister won the chance to implement an ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits if Britain votes this year to remain in the EU. However, a safeguard mechanism means that the European parliament would have a veto” – The Times (£)

Europe news 2: Ministers threaten to defy Cameron

“Cabinet ministers are threatening to defy David Cameron by publicly speaking out against his deal with the European Union, which they are warning will fail to cut migration. The Prime Minister was handed an offer on Tuesday by Brussels which critics said contained only ‘watered-down’ pledges. The deal will give EU migrants ‘gradually increasing access’ to benefits after they come to the UK” – Daily Telegraph

Europe news 3: Cameron faces tough fight to sell deal

“David Cameron will launch a two-week political campaign on Wednesday to sell to sceptical Conservative MPs and wary European Union leaders the ‘new settlement’ he hopes will persuade Britain to stay in the bloc. The prime minister argued that a draft deal to reform Britain’s EU relationship represented ‘significant change’, but the package will come under fire from Eurosceptic Tory MPs and the rightwing press” – Financial Times

But there is also some encouragement for the PM:

Cameron wins May’s backing

Snip20160203_6“Theresa May has indicated that she is prepared to campaign in favour of Britain’s membership of the EU, boosting David Cameron hours after Brussels tabled proposals for a new settlement following months of talks with the UK. The home secretary, at one time potentially considered a leading figure in the no campaign, described the proposals as the ‘basis for a deal’. A referendum could be held in June” – Guardian

  • Cameron stands by deal despite Eurosceptic backlash – Independent
  • City gives Tusk proposals cautious welcome – Financial Times


D’Ancona: “Cameron has the initiative”

“What Cameron has – and must not lose – is the initiative. His overarching task will be to persuade voters that his success is more than theatrical, his deal more than symbolic. He usually thrives when presented with a set-piece challenge. On this occasion, he has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give the British what they have always conspicuously lacked: a sense that they have a stake in the EU” – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian

  • The Brexiteers can’t agree what they want – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

And the FT gives the deal its blessing:

Snip20160203_10“The draft he has agreed with Brussels will be denounced as feeble, above all by Europhobes for whom any agreement would never be good enough. For all the criticism, however, Mr Cameron looks set to secure a reasonable deal for Britain…Mr Cameron has done better than expected in this renegotiation” – Financial Times editorial

Gove says bill of rights will protect British troops

“The armed forces will be protected from human rights claims over actions abroad under the UK bill of rights, according to the justice secretary. Michael Gove confirmed that the bill would include all the rights of the Human Rights Act 1998, brought in by Labour, which it will replace. There will be greater emphasis on free speech, Mr Gove said yesterday” – The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Swinney resists Labour call to increase income tax – Scotsman
  • Burning man sucked to his death from airliner – Daily Mail
  • End of the road for white lines on highway – The Times (£)
  • Cambridge to introduce written entrance exam – Independent

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