Thursday, 25 October 2007

Call a Referendum: Gordon Brown Must Listen to Bertie Ahern

The Irish premier’s statement on the Reform Treaty that “I think it’s a bit upsetting to see so many countries running away from giving their people an opportunity” provides a suitable lesson, in the interests of democracy, for where Gordon Brown must turn next, following the strong criticism of his Lisbon deal as he returned to the UK Parliament yesterday.

Since The Independent reported today that “Bill Cash, the leading Tory euro-sceptic in the Commons, angrily accused Mr Brown of ‘deceit’ over the negotiation of the Treaty”, the Prime Minister may well learn from this episode of treachery – which the Taoiseach has referred to as “upsetting” – and call for a referendum immediately.

The Prime Minister must realise that it is the UK Parliament itself which is now on trial. Chairman of the European Foundation, Bill Cash MP, said to Gordon Brown in Parliament yesterday: “Does the Prime Minister accept that by refusing to hold a referendum he is putting not only himself on trial but Parliament itself? Does he not appreciate that 27 million people have been denied the opportunity of a referendum since 1975? Given the circumstances of deceit and the manner in which this treaty has been negotiated, as the European Scrutiny Committee has indicated, it is absolutely essential that we have a referendum. No wonder only 59 per cent of people bother to vote at all. Does he not understand the responsibility upon him?”

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