TWO weeks ago few voters could hand on heart say that they had heard of Jean-Claude Juncker.

The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg may have been vying for the top job in Brussels, but he was hardly a household name across most of Europe.

David Cameron, however, today looks set to lose a humiliating vote he alone has pushed for on a politician whose high profile he has almost single handedly helped to create.

Loading article content

Why is the appointment of a European bureaucrat so important to the Prime Minister?

There was a large clue in his comments as he arrived to meet other European leaders in Ypes yesterday. Mr Cameron was forced to insist that the expected appointment of Mr Juncker would not derail his planned negotiations to reset the UK's relationship with Europe.

The Conservative leader knows he does not have much time to convince voters that he can get a good deal.

He has been given, so far at least, some leeway on the issue by the fact that neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats has followed him to pledge an In/Out referendum on European Union membership by 2017. And while 2017 might seem a long way off, realistically voters will be given a chance to make clear their views on how the Prime Ministers's project is going in 2015, at the next General Election. So the sight of Mr Cameron increasingly isolated at a European summit will do little to ease the fears of eurosceptics that much can be delivered.

Mr Cameron, of course, went - all guns blazing - to Brussels to insist that Mr Juncker could not become the next president just hours after the recent European Parliament elections showed a dramatic rise in support for the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip).

Number 10 insist that it is important that voters see a Prime Minister standing up for what he believes in.

But his political opponents will argue that it is also import-ant to see one doing so and winning.