David Cameron will tomorrow raise the bugle to his lips and sound the retreat on the Lisbon treaty referendum. But he’ll tell his troops that they will fight another day as he pledges to repatriate powers. One thing to look out for is when he plans to trigger a formal re-negotiation and how. We’ve had a Cameron U-turn on the referendum — watch out for a Zagreb zigzag on repatriation.
Some European diplomats think that Cameron is a pragmatic chap who has realised he cannot spend his first six months trying to reopen Lisbon. It would overshadow his fledgling government and could waste precious political capital, particularly if other European leaders ignore his pleas. (Remember that 14 member states need to support Cameron to even start renegotiation talks, while any changes require unanimity.)
So many numbers are flying around that you might not have spotted today’s real news on RBS.
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when John Healey and John Denham were up against the DCLG select committee last night.
The pair denied a recent comment by Richard McCarthy, one of the most senior civil servants at the department. McCarthy (the second highest-paid man in Whitehall, incidentally) had suggested that ministers were not in agreement over Home Information Packs. Of course they insisted that was not true.
Time to watch David Cameron squirm explain why he won’t give a referendum to the British public. Expected tomorrow. (A good day to bury bad news as it co-incides with the Kelly report – but expect fireworks at PMQs).
The Czech constitutional court has cleared the Lisbon Treaty, as my colleague in Warsaw reports here.