Are Conservatives facing return to the 1990s or 1980s?

David Cameron

A government which claims that it is facing defeat at the hands of its own backbenchers over the issue which has split the Conservative Party over much of the past quarter of a century - Europe.

A government which is told by one of its self-proclaimed friends that it lacks a convincing strategy for delivering its most important challenge - producing economic growth and creating wealth.

A government which is publicly split over energy policy with the energy secretary and his junior minister facing in different directions on the issue of one small aspect of it - wind power.

This has probably not been David Cameron's favourite day in office.

Today at Prime Minister's Questions he faced taunts from Ed Miliband that he was now as weak as John Major had been in the 1990s - unable to convince either the country or his own party.

That is Labour's growing hope - that this government will increasingly be seen "to be in office but not in power" as Chancellor Norman Lamont so brutally described the Tory government of the 1990's.

The Conservatives' hopes rest on another historical precedent - an era of splits over economic policy, Europe and much besides which did not stop Mrs Thatcher winning three consecutive elections as a certain Michael Heseltine may recall only too well.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.