Draft EU reforms attract dissent within Tory party

The former defence secretary says the reforms do not 'come close' to the changes that were promised. Credit: Reuters

Euro-sceptics within the Conservative Party have criticised the draft EU reforms, claiming they do not go far enough.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox, a Vote Leave supporter, said that the proposals did not "come close" to the changes promised.

Fox, MP for North Somerset, described David Cameron's set of demands as "limited" and said that have been "watered down by the EU in every area".

Meanwhile, senior Euro-sceptic Conservatives said in parliament that Cameron's proposals were "pint-sized" and were akin to "polishing poo".

Steve Baker, co-chairman of Conservatives for Britain, told the House of Commons the draft deal revealed to MPs "smells funny".

Sir Bill Cash said in parliament that he doubted the deal is a "fundamental change" for the UK's relationship with the EU.

The Stone MP, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, asked Foreign Office Minister David Lidington: "How can you justify this pint-sized package as a fundamental change in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union with real democracy for this Parliament, which represents the voters to which you yourself have just referred?"

David Lidington said that the Prime Minister would defeat the 'pessimistic' expectations of Euro-sceptic Conservatives.

Lidington came under fire as he updated the Commons on the progress of the talks, rather than the Prime Minister.

He said: "Significant steps towards achieving those objectives are all in these documents, and just as [Cameron] defeated expectations in securing a cut to the EU's budget, I believe he will defeat some of the more pessimistic expectations of one or two of my honourable friends."

Conservative MP and Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman, Crispin Blunt said he was "marginally" in the 'leave' camp in an interview on BBC Radio 4's World At One.

Graham Brady, chair of the Tory backbench 1922 committee, said he wanted "fundamental" change and still expected to vote to leave the EU.