Cameron's fears after Juncker defeat

David Cameron Image copyright BBC News

When Margaret Thatcher swung her handbag in Europe she was isolated but she won - securing a rebate for Britain or what she called "her money".

I put it to David Cameron that his defeat here will convince some that he has stamped his feet, been isolated but won nothing.

His reply was to insist that the rules of the EU have been changed since the 1980s so that it is harder to win as it is now easier for Britain to be outvoted on more issues.

He argues that this is one set-back over what he calls a "long campaign" to reform Europe and Britain's place in it.

He points to battles he has won in the past - such as the one to cut the EU's overall budget.

But his critics will note one thing. He counted on the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and when she switched sides he lost all of his allies bar one - Hungary.

This will allow UKIP and Tory "Better off outers" to claim that a better deal for Britain in the EU will prove impossible to deliver. It will allow others to say only a different leader or approach can deliver.

Margaret Thatcher ended up say "No No No" to Europe. David Cameron's fear is that his defeat here could make Britain more likely to say that to the EU or to him.

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