Thursday, 25 October 2007

Conservative Party Must Pledge ‘Post-Ratification Referendum’

Since Bill Cash, MP, put down a formal motion in Parliament for the UK to promise a referendum on the Reform Treaty even if Parliament ratifies it in the next few months (as reported in The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Express), the European Foundation demands that now is the time for Gordon Brown and the Conservative Party to acknowledge that the Reform Treaty is a consolidation of all the existing treaties, which creates a revised European Union structure involving fundamental and constitutional change (by the Government’s own criteria for a Referendum). The Conservative Party must pledge – as it states in the Early Day Motion – that Parliament “holds a Referendum before or after ratification.”

The Motion makes clear the necessary arguments for what both Gordon Brown and the Conservative Party must do now:

The impartial European Scrutiny Committee concluded that the Reform Treaty is substantially equivalent to the original Constitutional Treaty;

The Government Manifesto promised a Referendum on the original treaty;

The Conservative Party voted against the Treaty in principle on the Second Reading of the Bill implementing it;

The Prime Minister said that he will reject the Reform Treaty if the Government's Red Lines are not guaranteed on 18th October, but (following the European Scrutiny Committee examination of the Foreign Secretary on 16th October), these Red Lines do not satisfy UK vital national interests and that the European Court of Justice will determine these matters, not the UK Parliament;

27 million voters have been denied a Referendum on any European Question since 1975;
Over 70 per cent of the voters want a Referendum but the reasons have to be fully explained;

The Reform Treaty is a consolidation of the existing treaties into a merger of the European Community into a European Union involving substantial, fundamental, constitutional and structural change by the Government's own criteria for a Referendum;

The Prime Minister must reject the Reform Treaty and hold a Referendum before or after ratification.

In total, 40 MPs have signed this Early Day Motion in Parliament, including: William Cash, John Redwood, Michael Ancram, Christopher Chope, John Whittingdale, Edward Leigh, Bernard Jenkin, David Amess, James Clappison, Ann Widdecombe, Michael Fallon, Peter Bottomley, Iain Duncan Smith, Richard Shepherd, Peter Tapsell, Ann Winterton, Nicholas Winterton, Graham Brady, Greg Knight, Derek Conway, Bob Spink, Ian Liddell-Grainger, Mark Field, Richard Bacon, Nadine Dorries, Graham Stuart, Charles Walker, Adam Holloway, Greg Hands, Douglas Carswell, Lee Scott, Philip Dunne, David T. C. Davies, Christopher Fraser, Brian Binley, James Duddridge, Philip Davies, Daniel Kawczynski, Mark Pritchard, Peter Bone.

Jim McConalogue of the European Foundation, said:
“Given that an astonishing 27 million people have been denied a Referendum on the European issue since 1975 - including myself - it is vital that the Conservative Party pledge this Referendum post-ratification. If this pledge is to be long-term and meaningful, the Conservative Party must simply learn that a post-ratification referendum is essential.”

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