Cameron 'will stage a bang the table row with Brussels': Plot to fool voters into thinking he has secured a good deal
- PM will 'choreograph' row to convince voters he's secured good deal on EU
- Argument with French president Hollande expected in following months
- Former health secretary Andrew Lansley revealed plan to business leaders
- Ukip's Douglas Carswell accused David Cameron of ‘cynical manipulation’
David Cameron will orchestrate a ‘bang the table’ row with the French to try to convince voters he has secured a good deal from Brussels, senior Tories have admitted.
Former health secretary Andrew Lansley is reported to have told business leaders last week that the Prime Minister plans to ‘choreograph’ a row with French president Francois Hollande before putting his new deal on Europe to voters in an in/out referendum in the following months.
Another senior Tory said it was vital for the Prime Minister’s talks to have some ‘theatre’ to persuade voters that Mr Cameron had fought hard for Britain in the negotiations, which will be conducted behind closed doors.
Scroll down for video
David Cameron will orchestrate a ‘bang the table’ row with French president Francois Hollande to try to convince voters he has secured a good deal from Brussels, senior Tories have admitted
‘We have not reached the bang the table moment yet, but it will come – probably at the end of this year or early in the next,’ the source said.
The admissions will fuel fears among Eurosceptics that Mr Cameron is more concerned about keeping the UK in Europe than in securing genuine reform of Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell accused Mr Cameron of ‘cynical manipulation’, saying: ‘I’m afraid this is exactly the sort of thing we would expect from the sofa gang in Downing Street.
Former health secretary Andrew Lansley is said to have told business leaders that the Prime Minister plans to ‘choreograph’ a row with President Hollande
‘They believe that people are Eurosceptic because they want to be rude to foreigners, and think they will appease them by confecting a row with the French president.’
Mr Lansley’s comments emerged in a speech to business leaders, notes of which have been circulated among Tory MPs, The Sunday Times reported.
A source at the event said Mr Lansley claimed there would be a ‘big row with the French’ after next February’s European Council summit in Brussels, at which everything would be ‘choreographed’.
According to notes of the speech, he said: ‘UK public expectations from renegotiation need to be realistic (and downplayed at the outset) and then be exceeded.
‘Other EU governments should recognise the need for UK “wins”, preferably following some “rows”.’
The former MP, who now works for a PR firm expected to play a role in the referendum’s Yes campaign, said EU supporters would have to use every available method to keep Britain in, adding: ‘For years, many senior Conservatives have defined Europe in negative terms.
‘It will be a dramatic change of gear to say to voters “Europe is in our interests”.’
Mr Lansley declined to comment last night.