David Cameron launches the Conservative Party's European and local election campaign during a speech in Newcastle on May 2, 2014. Photograph: Getty Images.
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What Cameron's pledge not to resign if he loses the EU referendum tells us

The PM recognises how any hint that he could depart could galvanise the "No" campaign - but he is preparing for defeat. 

The issue of resigning, and when and when not to do so, is occupying an increasing amount of David Cameron's time. It started with his pledge last month to stand down as prime minister if he is unable to deliver an in/out EU referendum by 2017 (making the issue a red line in futue coalition negotiations). Then on Friday, he confirmed reports that he has "no intention" of resigning if Scotland votes to leave the UK in September. Today, in an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain, he extended that commitment to the EU referendum. 

The point about these referendums is that there is a question on these referendums and the question is not 'do you want the prime minister to stay or go?' – whether it’s the case with Scotland or Europe; the question is, in the case of Scotland, 'do you want Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom?', 'do you want the United Kingdom to stay in Europe?'

Cameron's pledge not to resign tells us several things. First, that, unsurprisingly, he has an interest in his own preservation. A prime minister cannot afford to appear indifferent about his own fate. Second, that he recognises how any hint that he could depart could galvanise the "Yes" campaign in the case of Scotland and the "No" campaign in the case of the EU. Third, that in both cases, he is mentally preparing himself for the possibility that he will not get the outcome he seeks (for Scotland to remain in the UK and for the UK to remain in the EU). 

The final point to make, as Isabel Hardman did on Friday, is that Cameron does not enjoy the luxury of being able to choose whether he survives defeat in either referendum. That is up to his party. Were a minimum of 46 letters to be sent to the backbench 1922 Committee, he would face a vote of no confidence. Alternatively, he could be deposed by a phalanx of senior cabinet ministers telling him that the game is up. That Cameron is already insisting he won't be moved is a clear sign that he is determined to avoid this outcome. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.