The smoke and fog of EU battle

The Lib Dems are playing games over the EU. They promised to vote for a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty in the last General Election, and like the Labour front bench are now walking away from their commitment. They say they now want an In-Out referendum instead, but cannot table one in the Commons as an amendment to the present Bill. Doubtless they realised this when they promised one! Never believe a Lib Dem promise. They are simply manoeuvring to get themselves out of the promise that should have mattered ?? a referendum on the Constitution – realising that as Eurofederalists in a Eurosceptic country they are in difficulties. All this wriggling will make it worse for them.

Euro Clegg should do the proper thing, and order his MPs to keep their word to the electors and vote for the Constitutional Treaty referendum as promised. The Lib Dems on this occasion matter, as it is very unlikely the Conservatives can win the vote for the referendum without support from all Lib Dem MPs. If he cannot bring himself to do this, then he should apologise to the British people and explain why he thinks the Constitutional treaty is a good thing. Voters can then get rid of these perfidious MPs at the next election.

Labour rebels today are moving a reasoned amendment to the Bill, asking to cancel it as there is no referendum. This is not the main vote on a referendum ?? that will come later during the Bills Parliamentary progress ?? when Conservatives will table a proposal to have the Bill enacting the Treaty with a ??Yes?? vote in a referendum as the essential trigger for the Bill to come into effect. We will of course be campaigning for a ??No?? vote should we get the referendum.

I would be happy to see the Bill killed at its first hurdle today, but as the Lib Dems will not be voting for the Labour rebel amendment there is no chance of that. What we need is for people to concentrate on persuading as many MPs as possible to vote for the referendum amendment which follows later. Anyone in the constituency of a Labour or Lib Dem MP should write to them demanding they keep their word. Conservatives will table the necessary amendment, argue the case and vote for it, but we need the votes of all the Lib Dems and some Labour rebels to finish the job.


  1. Letters From A Tory
    January 21, 2008

    It is going to require a mammoth effort to kill this off, so good luck John – the country really is behind you.

  2. newmania
    January 21, 2008

    Never believe a Lib Dem promise

    Quite and their behaviour over this does not bode well should they hold a balance of power after the next GE. In practice they will support Brown grab PR and steal democracy as we understand it from us perhaps forever. I see that a sustained demand for assurances oterwise must be maintained .

  3. Stuart Fairney
    January 21, 2008

    If I may, from the Lib Dem 2005 manifesto, upon which all their MP's were elected

    "We are therefore clear in our support for the constitution, which we believe is in Britains interest

  4. mikestallard
    January 21, 2008

    Open Europe has produced, today, a copy of the Treaty of Lisbon compared with the Constitution.
    You only have to glance at it to see that both documents are extremely similar.
    The constitution made fascinating reading. If you want a go, then here is the reference:

  5. Curly
    January 22, 2008

    The Sky News blog today reports;

    "Conservatives blundered by not putting their name to the rebel Labour amendment calling for a referendum on the treaty."

    Why is this John?

    Why is our party not united in calling for a referendum on this odious treaty?


    Had the amendment yesterday been called we would have voted for it, but the Speaker decided not to call it. It was not, however, an amendment to get a referendum but a vote to cancel the Bill as a whole – which is exactly what we voted to do by opposing Second Reading along with a few Labour rebels. We always planned to table our referendum amendment during the course of the Committee proceedings, and will do so – or we will support a Labour one tabled at that time. That will give opportuntiy for Labour to vote with us. Without the Lib dems we will not win.The thing to do is to concentrate on pressurising Lib dems to vote with us to give us some chance of winning.

  6. […] the first reading of the Bill to ratify the Lisbon treaty. Concerned at the apparent lack of bite I posed the question with John Redwood – why did the Conservatives fail to add their name to the amendment from rebel Labour […]

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