Sketch: While the inmates riot, leaders swap taunts

Related Topics

Sir Peter Tapsell was clearly disappointed. Rising from his seat with all the inimitable authority of a man who was working for Anthony Eden a decade before the present Prime Minister was born, he had asked what Angela Merkel's reaction had been when David Cameron had made it "admirably" clear that the Bank of England, and not some alien European body, would have oversight over British financial services.

A great figure like Sir Peter does not do crestfallen. But he was stony-faced when Cameron failed to answer, merely sticking to his line that while Britain would not be party to any European Banking Union, it was in British interests to help one be created for the eurozone.

No doubt he had been hoping to be told that the German Chancellor had foamed at the mouth and uttered some Teutonic scream of rage, adding for good measure that the schweinhund Cameron had foiled a cunning plan to control the British banks from Berlin.

He was not alone. You only have to see the majority of Tory backbenchers in full cry on Europe to sympathise with Cameron's struggle to persuade them there might even be some benefit in staying in the EU.

Shipley's Philip Davies led an onslaught on Cameron's plan for a referendum on a renegotiated settlement with Europe. "Only an in/out referendum will do for the British people," he said, before adding, in the style of a Mafia don telling another that a horse's head in his bed would be the least he could expect: "It will be in his very much best interests if he would stop resisting it."

Against this background the almost routine exchanges between Ed Miliband and the Prime Minister boiled down to the Finn versus the Bulgarian. Miliband taunted Cameron with the "Anglophile" Finnish Europe minister who had complained that the UK was "saying bye bye" to the EU. And Cameron countered with the Bulgarian head of the socialist bloc in the European parliament who was opposed to gay pride marches.

At one point Miliband remarked of the noisy Tory backbenchers that "they don't like it" when he tells them how little influence Cameron has in Europe. The problem with this line of argument is that many of them seem to like it quite a lot.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas