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Gott in Himmel! Mr Cameron’s
European crisis has passed
23:35 GMT, 26 November 2012
From the backbenches: ‘Danke, Herr Cameron! Wir sind alle Englander!’
Gott in Himmel. Had someone been at the schnapps bottle In fact, sturdily English-Midlands Andrew Bridgen (Con, NW Leics) was quoting Der Spiegel, a German magazine. It had praised our PM for standing up to European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and his extravagant little friends in Brussels.
David Cameron was in the Commons to tell MPs about his stand-off with the EC maniacs at last week’s summit.
They wanted more money. Mr Cameron told them to bog off, though not in language quite that Farage-ian.
'Danke, Herr Cameron': Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen quoted German magazine Der Spiegel which had praised David Cameron for his performance whilst standing up to European Council president Herman Van Rompuy last week
‘The EU institutions have got to adjust to the real world,’ said our sleek man of foreign affairs. Mr Cameron enjoyed yesterday. He took questions from more than 50 MPs. Not one of them discombobulated him. His immediate European crisis has passed.
Edward Miliband, naturally, was displeased that Mr Cameron had not surrendered to Rumpy Pumpy. The Labour leader complained that ‘we are drifting towards the exit door’ of Europe. What a dreadful thing British public opinion is, not to see the strength of the Mili-Rompuy masterplan.
Mr Cameron responded by saying that Labour’s socialist allies in Brussels were all hot to trot for more spending by the EU. He also noted that Labour, in Government, gave away much of Maggie Thatcher’s rebate.
Crisis averted, for now: Mr Cameron has managed to appease a number of critical MPs with his performance at last week's summit
Every time Mr Cameron rehearsed the rebate point, Mr Miliband pushed out his upper front teeth as though it was some terrific joke. Ho ho ho! Who cares about a billion or two here and there
If Mr Miliband is serious about wanting to become Prime Minister – serious about making us think him more than a prize goofball – he needs to find an answer to the ‘Labour gave away the rebate’ barb.
Labour MPs hooted when Mr Cameron said he hoped to ‘galvanise a coalition of like-minded countries’. A Labour MP shouted: ‘Who are they’ Mr Cameron, in a trice: ‘The Dutch, the Swedes, the Danes, the Finns, the Germans – all backing us.’ Mr Miliband honked like a sealion awaiting its evening bucket of pilchards.
Guy Opperman (Con, Hexham) called those ecountries ‘The Fiscal Sensibles’. Mr Cameron kept talking about the budget ‘ceiling’ but the first time he used this image I thought he said ‘stealing’.
It may not mean much that the PM received support from his own benches but the range of support was notable. He was backed by both former Lib Dem leader Sir Ming Campbell and by Wellingborough’s firmly Eurosceptic Tory Peter Bone.
Mr Bone often (to a wearisome degree) mentions his wife in the Chamber.
Mr Cameron, replying to Mr Bone, said that he was glad if ‘Mrs Bone was satisfied by the weekend’s activities’. It took a second or so for the House to realise that Mr Cameron had cracked a Carry On-style double entendre. ‘The weekend’s activities’, indeed! Could this become a euphemism to replace Private Eye’s ‘Ugandan discussions’
Predictable: Yesterday in Commons, Labour leader Ed Miliband complained that 'we are drifting towards the exit door' of Europe
A contingent of camouflaged soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (which was recently in Afghanistan) arrived in the Strangers’ Gallery in time to hear Mr Cameron take a question from David Burrowes (Con, Enfield Southgate). As I reported on Saturday, Mr Burrowes has grown a droopy ‘hey, gringo’ moustache for charity.
Mr Cameron’s eyes popped as they might if he beheld Frau Merkel in an oompah-oompah bierkeller barmaid bustier. Replying to Mr Burrowes he said: ‘He wouldn’t look out of place in a spaghetti western. Er, I’m afraid I was so excited by his moustache I have forgotten his question.’
In earlier exchanges, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced with some theatricality that the next Bank of England Governor will be a Canadian, Mark Carney. Mr Osborne went to some lengths to say that Mr Carney has a British wife and that he will be applying for a British passport. Translation: ‘He won’t betray us.’
Tony Blair had a British passport but that did not stop him chucking away much of our rebate to Brussels.