THEY’VE had a bit of an internal squabble recently about the wisdom of supporting or opposing Labour’s night time levy on pubs in Camden, but will the EU referendum open up a more testing split for the Camden Conservatives? Who stands with Cameron – and who is siding with Boris?
It’s hard to say, as there’s a certain coyness among some of the local Tories who may or may not be shy Brexiteers. Andrew Marshall, the former leader of the group who now sits on the backbenches, is as pro-EU as they come and could be found searching for reassurance from the ambitious bouncer Oliver Cooper in a forum as public as Twitter over the weekend. He didn’t really get the definite answer he was looking for:
And Cllr Cooper’s was cautiously still keeping a straight bat when I baldly asked him yesterday: Are you a Brexit man? With a hint of a parliamentary career to come, he deflected: “I’m more of a homes man, a better transport man, a safer streets man, and a cleaner air man. I’m backing Zac for Mayor because those are the things he can deliver for London. That’s my and the Conservatives’ only focus.”
So the EU is a minor issue?
“Nice try,” Cllr Cooper responded to this further prod. “It’s a good job foreign policy isn’t decided by councillors or Labour would probably pull out of NATO and scrap the army, like Jeremy Corbyn. Thanks to David Cameron, our relationship with the EU is decided by the public in the upcoming referendum, not by councillors, or MPs or political parties.”
He is not the only local Conservative who seems a little reluctant to publicly say IN… or OUT. Councillor Williams will no doubt call back soon.