David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has won a tiny but unexpected majority. He has a lot of problems to overcome, however. As his first act after the election, the Prime Minister has called for a meeting with senior backbench MP’s within his party to discuss how to ease relations between the minister and Tory party in Parliament.
Cameron is trying to set up an offensive with his own MP’s in trying to deal with the demands of the right-wing rebels. Senior Conservatives warned him Friday night (May 8) that in the months ahead he will have to deal with the growing amount of calls to seek tougher reforms in Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
Cameron has vowed to renegotiate new terms with the EU before holding a referendum on whether the UK should remain a part of the EU. As much as 60 MP’s are calling for Cameron to negotiate a new power for the Commons to be able to veto any EU law. Doing so, he has said, is not possible without Britain leaving the EU.
Cameron is trying to bridge gaps after his win; on Friday afternoon, he invited Graham Brady, who is the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. Brady said the early invitation from him is encouraging. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr. Brady said he and Cameron talked about how they can make sure that parliamentary members are effective as they can be in policy development, and are also involved in consultations.
Senior officials warned the Prime Minister that without Liberal Democrats, he would have to work hard to avoid another 1990’s split over Europe that was a constant hardship for former Prime Minister John Mayer.
About 323 Tories want the power to veto or opt out of individual EU laws, according to former European Minister David Davis. Some 60 MP’s feel so strongly about that, they may rebel over that issue alone. Cameron’s policy of negotiating with Brussels to end an “even closer union” and for cutting benefits to migrants is not enough, he said.
While a large amount of Conservatives want an opt out for parliament on anything from the EU, most members of the public want something like what the Swiss have, an “emergency break” on immigration. They may also want to see some change to EU arrest warrants, changes that would bring less regulations according to Davis.
The Tory party can only see some success in the next five years if they make some accommodations between the backbenchers and the government. Cameron has to pay attention to the backbenchers, and they have to give him some leeway in return.
Along with dealing with the conservatives, Cameron will also have to spend a considerable amount of time dealing with the Scottish National Party (SNP). The large win of the SNP means that he will have to deal with the issue of Scotland. The Scottish question and the desire of Conservatives to leave the EU are linked. If there is a vote to leave the EU, then mostly likely that will cause calls from Scotland to have another independence referendum. This is not a legacy Cameron wants to be remembered for.
Cameron’s is one of the longest Conservative leaders in history. He has shifted to a more traditional conservative role lately, concentrating on issues such as lower taxes, and fiscal responsibility. At 43, he was the youngest Prime Minister since 1812, when Robert Banks Jenkins (the 2nd Earl of Liverpool) served.
Cameron considers himself pragmatic, and hopes people see him as optimistic. He said in May 2015 that they will govern as one nation, a United Kingdom, and that means making sure that the recovery reaches all corners of the nation.
Cameron may not have won a large majority, and there will certainly be struggles in the days ahead. Many feel, though, that he is the right man for the job and that his pragmatic easy-going personality could help.
By Jessica Hamel
Photo by Alex France-Creativecommons Flickr License