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Euro Veto Row - What's In Monday Morning's Papers?

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Cameron Will Be In The Commons To Explain His Veto - Will Clegg Turn Up To Watch?
Cameron Will Be In The Commons To Explain His Veto - Will Clegg Turn Up To Watch?

On Monday afternoon at about 3:30pm David Cameron will appear in the Commons to update MPs on the European Summit last week.

This is fairly routine and happens after every major intergovernmental conference. What's new this time is that in vetoing an EU treaty, Cameron has done something which no British PM has ever done before - not even Thatcher.

So we can expect a little piece of parliamentary history and will be watching the faces of Liberal Democrats. Of interest will be whether their leader Nick Clegg will turn up and sit next to the PM, or if he'll just keep away.

Cameron's torpedoing of attempts to create an EU-wide treaty on stabilising the euro has pleased dozens of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, who for once find themselves in control of the agenda. A vote in the commons a month ago on whether there should be a referendum on Britain's future in the EU attracted 80 Tory rebels.

This paved the way for Cameron finding it impossible to allow any further treaties within Europe, because the British government's position on treaties means almost any new treaty would see deafening calls for a referendum. Two Parliamentary Private Secretaries left the government over that vote and there were plenty of others who jostled with their consciences. But those Tories will have a spring in their step today as they head to the Commons.

We're also watching Vince Cable closely, after it was claimed at the weekend he might resign over the European veto by Cameron.

He issued a denial on Sunday night in response to the rumours, but their source, Will Hutton, is a close friend of the business secretary, which is why they were taken so seriously.

Meanwhile Monday morning's papers have seized on the 'pygmy' comment by Nick Clegg yesterday, and The Times has produced a poll - the second conducted since the veto - showing another strong majority of the public backing Cameron's position on Europe.

Despite all the Lib Dem posturing, tantrums and threats to throw their toys out of the pram, it's polls like that which serve as a reminder that this row, serious though it might be, won't cause the coalition to collapse. There are two numbers which are important - the number of people who back the veto and the number of people who say they'll vote Lib Dem next time.

The first number is very high, the second number is very, very low. With numbers like that, Clegg and Cable are just going to have to suck it up today as Cameron basks in eurosceptic glory.

Among the running commentary on the row, Lord Mandelson has taken to the pages of The Guardian to reject the notion that Cameron's a British Bulldog. His central argument is that Thatcher never walked away from the European negotiating table, she stayed there until she'd achieved what she wanted. Mandelson contrasts that approach with the one taken by David Cameron, who he says: "put politics before economics. He clearly thought it was safer to lose Britain's place in Europe than risk losing the support of rebellious Tory MPs."

That's countered by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph, who says European leaders like Angela Merkel are being disingenuous in their anger towards Cameron. The Mayor of London's claiming that while Merkel seems furious because Cameron wielded the veto, the real source of her ire is the fact British politicians worries about the Euro and the EU project have been proven entirely accurate.

Here's the rest of Monday's front pages...

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Martin Rowson on Cameron's veto of the EU treaty - cartoon