The EU row Cameron doesn't want

David Cameron

The last thing David Cameron needs now is a row with the European Union.

The prime minister has just ended an exhausting, girth-enhancing charm offensive around European capitals, selling his proposals to reform Britain's relationship with the EU.

His civil servants in Brussels have begun negotiating the details with European Council and commission officials.

Hard work

George Osborne is preparing to pick up the diplomatic baton and start discussing the plans with fellow finance ministers. Progress of a sort is being made.

So what neither the chancellor nor the prime minister need is a dispute over bailing out Greece that would undo all this hard work.

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How Greek vote will affect EU debate in UK

Greek pensioners queue to withdraw money from a bank in Athens

The economic risks to Britain of the Greek No vote are clear to see. But what of the political impact?

In the short term, the No vote will shape the context of this week's Budget. George Osborne will once again seize on the example of Greece to press home his argument for continued deficit reduction.

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EU referendum: Parliamentary growing pains

EU referendum vote

So, in the end, only 27 Conservative MPs rebelled over plans to give the government a free hand in the final weeks of the forthcoming EU referendum campaign.

Not much to see here, you might think, time to move along. And yet what we saw today at Westminster was fascinating, the growing pains of a new parliament on show for all to see.

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The Conservatives' EU battle has already started

David Cameron speaks during G7 summit in Germany
David Cameron has promised an EU referendum by 2017

What is it about the Conservative Party and the European Union? What is it that prompts such passion, such muddle and - on occasion - such bitterness?

The relationship between Britain and the EU tore the Conservatives apart for years in government and in opposition.

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Election 2015: 10 brief conclusions

Palace of Westminster

After an extraordinary night, ten brief conclusions:

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Election 2015: The politics of legitimacy

Fox in Downing Street

Politics is sailing into turbulent constitutional waters. That at least is what the opinion polls tell us.

These waters are not entirely uncharted; politicians have had to navigate the shoals of hung parliaments before. But historical precedent and ancient charts can provide only a rough guide through changing winds and tides. Politics, like the sea, is never the same.

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Election 2015: Why Tony Blair still matters

Tony Blair
Tony Blair is back under the spotlight

"Former Labour prime minister backs Labour" is one of those news stories that falls into the "dog bites man" variety. Important, perhaps, to the poor chap with a sore leg but hardly news for the rest of us. So why will we spend so much of today discussing Tony Blair's intervention in the election campaign?

1) Tony Blair won general elections. Three, to be precise. He knew how to do something the current generation of political leaders seems unable to do and that is secure majorities in the House of Commons. Any advice he gives Labour will be scrutinised for vicarious wisdom from which the party could benefit with the opinion polls still showing little movement in any direction.

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Cameron v Miliband: The debates begin

Labour leader Ed Miliband and Jeremy Paxman (right) on the Sky News/Channel 4 programme: "Cameron v Miliband Live: The Battle for Number 10"

It was not a head-to-head debate. But it was a back-to-back job interview and a good one at that.

It gave voters the chance to see the two men who could be our prime minister tested, above all, by Jeremy Paxman's robust questioning. (Full disclosure: I once spent a summer doing some paid research work for Jeremy when I was a student).

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Has David Cameron opened Pandora's Box?

So, what did he mean by that?

David Cameron's admission that he will not serve a third term in Downing Street will provoke a flurry of speculation. What was he hoping to achieve? What message was he trying to send?

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Leader profile: Nick Clegg opens up about life outside politics

Nick Clegg is unique in British politics.

No MP has such a cosmopolitan and international background - his mother is Dutch, his father half Russian, his wife Spanish.

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