So Mr Clarke said six weeks ago, according to The Guardian:

"I think the need to be working with Obama will influence my party on Europe. It is still firmly Eurosceptic but it’s now moderate, harmless Eurosceptism. It’s a bit silly sometimes, like which group do you join in the European parliament, but full-blooded stuff like renegotiating the treaty of accession is as dead as a dodo. We’ve got lots of ideas on European policy on energy, security, relations with Russia, climate change, all that kind of thing [but] somebody like me is far more relaxed about all that [and if the Tories] get into office the pressure of the American alliance will make them more European."

Mr Clarke was speaking at an academic conference in Nottingham.  I remember the words well as I was chairing the panel session when he made those remarks.  He also warned about higher taxes but I reported those at the time (after agreeing them with his office).  The rest of the session was supposed to be off the record.

Tim Montgomerie