Earlier this week we noted the LibDem leader’s support for Gordon Brown’s dishonourable position on the draft EU Treaty.
Matthew d’Ancona says this about Ming Campbell’s call for a vote on membership of the EU:
"Sir Menzies Campbell’s call for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is a desperate bid to preserve party unity on the eve of what may be his last conference as Lib Dem leader… The trouble is that the question Ming wants to pose – In or Out – is a complete irrelevance (except for Ukip voters). The controversy over the re-heated EU Constitution, now stripped of grandiose language but substantially the same as it was in 2004, has nothing whatsoever to do with membership of Europe. It is about trust and Labour’s unambiguous pledge in its 2005 manifesto to hold a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty (or Reform Treaty as it is now relabelled after the deal struck this year). Either the Government honours that pledge or it does not… Sir Ming has merely confused a very simple issue of principle, as only Lib Dems can. Pitiful stuff from a third-rate party leader already in the departure lounge."
Let’s just hope that he stays in that departure lounge and LibDems don’t put him on a one-way flight to retirement land. The collapse in LibDem support across the south of England since he replaced Charles Kennedy (and David Cameron replaced Michael Howard) is the most encouraging poll data I’ve seen for some time.
My message to the LibDems gathering in Brighton is simple: please, please, please keep Ming as your leader.