As the TUC and his own Backbenchers put the squeeze on Gordon Brown, liar and Prime Minister, over the EU Referendum, the open goalmouth facing the Conservative Party on the issue, has yawned ever wider. With his flanks under severe attack, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is a good moment to keep up the pressure from the centre.

Which makes it pertinent to enquire why the said goalmouth is not crammed full of Tories all vying with one another to stuff the ball in the net?

They are not there, although Michael Gove, a junior shadow minister, did put in an appearance at the IWANTAREFERENDUM launch, and are becoming conspicuous by their absence.

Looking at the Conservative Party website, it may be noted that a search for the word ‘referendum’ produces a speech by William Hague in early August as the last document to contain it and David Cameron’s own last effort appears to have been his article in the Sun two weeks ago (here).

So, what is going on? Why have they quit the field? Do they fear their own success, lest the whole issue of Europe should once again divide them as it did so badly in the 1990s?

It is devoutly to be hoped that the party has not decided, on a matter of vital national importance, to put the interests of party above country. For if that is so it will be seen by many Conservatives as a gross act of betrayal for which the party will never be forgiven if a referendum is not forthcoming and may result in the departure of may to pastures new.