Despite Conservative attempts to bury "Europe" at the back of their manifesto, when The Independent came to report the launch today, it chose to highlight the EU policy with the headline: "I'll name date for EU referendum on my first day, says Howard."
Within 24 hours of taking office, it reports, Mr Howard would set out a date for a referendum on the proposed European constitution in which his cabinet would campaign for a "no" vote.
The Europhile Independent is hardly a friend of Mr Howard and any "spin" the paper offers is undoubtedly aimed at making mischief for the Tories. It must, therefore, see in its headline, at least a scintilla of embarrassment for Howard, and appears to regard a pledge for an early referendum as a stick with which to beat the Party.
Strangely enough, Howard does regard his European policy as an embarrassment, so he is at one with the Independent. What strange bedfellows doth politics make.