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.