G7 summit could be rocky for Cameron

  • 25 May 2016
  • From the section World
David Cameron receives flowers from Japanese school children upon his arrival at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, 25 May 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption David Cameron will hope for support for his EU referendum campaign

There is an old joke about summits being places where politicians gather to agree that "summat" ought to be done.

And it is true that many international meetings produce more words than actions. But at this week's meeting of G7 industrialised nations in Japan, words will probably be enough for David Cameron, so long as they support Britain staying in the EU.

On his last scheduled overseas visit before next month's referendum, the prime minister will be more than happy if he can get a pro-Remain endorsement from world leaders before dashing home to continue campaigning for his political life and our future relationship with the EU.

The referendum is not officially on the summit agenda and British officials insist there is no plan for any kind of joint statement.

But they admit that Brexit will be discussed on the margins of this meeting in central Japan.

Read full article G7 summit could be rocky for Cameron

Why Cameron went public over Blairmore shares

David and Ian Cameron Image copyright AP
Image caption Ian Cameron died in September 2010

When a politician is under pressure, facing questions about their family and their finances, their natural instinct is to protect their privacy and say as little as possible.

But when that pressure gets too great, there comes a moment when they have to go public and for David Cameron that moment came last night.

Read full article Why Cameron went public over Blairmore shares

Conservatives, Europe and the risks of a disunited party

Iain Duncan Smith speaking in the House of Commons in the early 1990s
Image caption Divisions over Europe which came to a head in the early 1990s have remained unreconciled

I have come full circle. In the early 1990s, I arrived at Westminster as a young reporter, there to help chronicle the decline of the Conservative Party for The Times.

The then prime minister, John Major, had a small parliamentary majority and large parliamentary problem: a party divided to the core over Britain's membership of the European Union, divisions that were under laid by deep-set personal feuds, all the while potential successors for the leadership circled and plotted and agitated against Downing Street.

Read full article Conservatives, Europe and the risks of a disunited party

Budget 2016: George Osborne's political balancing act

George Osborne at Number 11 Image copyright PA
Image caption This will be George Osborne's eighth Budget

Like Sherlock Holmes, we must look in this Budget for the dogs that do not bark. Four years out from a general election, this is the time in the political cycle when chancellors can take unpopular decisions. A moment, perhaps, for a big reform to our pensions or taxation. Yet the mood music emerging from the Treasury is distinctly adagio.

For George Osborne finds himself constrained by the EU referendum, a restive Tory party, a sluggish global economy and leadership ambitions that are not without challenge.

Read full article Budget 2016: George Osborne's political balancing act

Sunday trading - Mrs Thatcher's only defeat

Mrs Thatcher

Sunday trading is toxic for the Tories. In 1986, at the height of her powers and with a massive 140-plus majority, Mrs Thatcher tried to relax the laws.

But 72 Tory MPs felt so strongly about the issue that they were prepared to do the unthinkable and rebel against their leader. So the Shops Bill was defeated at second reading.

Read full article Sunday trading - Mrs Thatcher's only defeat

EU referendum: How will divided government work?

EU exit-supporting ministers Image copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption Ministers have been told they can campaign against the government in the EU referendum

Abraham Lincoln said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand". So how can the government stand when it is so utterly divided over Britain's future in the European Union?

The short answer is that it has simply decided to suspend the usual rules demanding unity and loyalty.

Read full article EU referendum: How will divided government work?

Will Boris Johnson sway the EU referendum result?

Boris Johnson Image copyright PA

Boris Johnson is political box office. He is one of Britain's most charismatic politicians. So his decision to support Brexit gives popular appeal to a Leave campaign that has lacked a talismanic figurehead.

And polls suggest that his is a voice that many will listen to as they make up their minds. So the mayor of London will transform the referendum campaign. But will he transform the result?

Read full article Will Boris Johnson sway the EU referendum result?

EU referendum: How Cameron will get a June vote

David Cameron Image copyright EPA

David Cameron wants to get a deal quickly on his EU reforms so he can hold a referendum by late June.

The prime minister wants to keep up the political momentum, give his opponents less time to organise and get the issue out of the way as soon as possible.

Read full article EU referendum: How Cameron will get a June vote

EU referendum: Cameron's options for enhancing sovereignty

David Cameron Image copyright Getty Images

Governments rarely perform miracles but they do try to square circles. And that is what David Cameron's ministers are attempting right now with Britain's constitution.

They are looking for a way of asserting the sovereignty and authority of parliament over the EU in a way that convinces voters - and Boris Johnson - that Britain's relationship with the continent is changing.

Read full article EU referendum: Cameron's options for enhancing sovereignty

EU referendum: Cameron's campaign starts here

David Cameron

It comprises 17 pages of closely argued legal jargon, diplomatic ambiguity and square brackets.

The contents are dismissed by critics as a "pint-sized package" that fails to match the prime minister's lofty ambition of fundamental reform.

Read full article EU referendum: Cameron's campaign starts here