Cameron's desperate attempt to prevent complete conservative wipe out in the next EU elections
Conservative 'Champions' of EU-Scepticism
We have seen William Hague start as (probably) a genuine believer in the primacy of Westminster as the UK government and then gradually drift in to the standard EU phillia of our political class.
We have seen David Cameron talk tough on the EU (although whether 'cast iron' Dave was ever genuinely EU sceptic (or has any firm principles) is open to question) but when cornered revealed as an EU phile.
Now we have the supposed 'arch' conservative EU Sceptic - their new champion replacing the fallen Cameron and Hague - Iain Duncan Smith. Presented as the man who disobeyed John Major PM's three line whip on the 'Mastrict Treaty' but then went on to lead the Conservative party (the 'quiet man who rapidly fell silent').
The fall of the final 'Champion'
The story of IDS's Mastrict rebellion was stoked up in the press - the new EU hard man.
Then came the vote on having giving the people a referendum on the EU. IDS follows the party line (as a minister he had no choice! to do otherwise would have split the coalition!).
But we were reassured...
IDS lets it be known that he wanted to vote for a referendum, but couldn't - however if it happened again he would resign rather than go against his EU Sceptic principles:
IDS threat to quit: I won't vote against my Eurosceptic principles again
There are official denials of such a threat, but IDS refuses to support the denials ('Minister Coy over quit threat'):
(Note the BBC have removed their original report of this and replaced it to make IDS look less scheming than he was).
Then IDS admits he didn't support the referendum at all anyway, so any threat to resign was purely on being subject to a three line whip:
Finally realising how stupid, dishonest and unprincipled this whole episode make him appear - IDS now issues a blanket denial that there was ever any disagreement by himself at all!
(This is the story that the BBC used to airbrush out their 'IDS refuses to support Camerons claim of no threat to resign).