News has reached ConservativeHome in the last few minutes – from two impeccable sources – that William Hague is preparing to abandon David Cameron’s commitment to take Tory MEPs out of the EPP. The policy retreat will not, of course, be billed as such. There will still be talk of leaving the EPP in the future but opposition from some Tory MEPs, other continental conservatives and because of the difficulty of forming a new grouping have apparently thwarted David Cameron’s ambition to form a new Eurosceptic grouping of MEPs.
Eurosceptic MEPs and Cornerstone MPs will be furious if this retreat is confirmed. Quitting the EPP was one of the very few bankable commitments made by David Cameron during the leadership contest and a failure to deliver will risk not only David Cameron’s standing with his right-wing supporters but also his basic credibility.
It must be hoped that the rumour mill has, on this occasion, got it wrong.