Second Lib Dem MP signs up for Euro referendum

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2007

David Heath, the Lib Dems’ Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor, has become the second party MP to urge a public vote on the EU reform treaty.

David today joined a cross-party group of MPs in launching a nationwide campaign, labelled simply “I want a referendum”, which aims to force Gordon Brown to call a referendum on the EU treaty.

Last week, Mike Hancock became the first Lib Dem MP publicly to call for the party to support a referendum.

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6 comments

What is the Lib Dem policy on the renamed constitution document,seem to remember that they promised a referendum in their 05 GE manifesto,does this still stand,not a word from Ming is he waiting for direction from Gordo?

by jim on September 6, 2007 at 9:40 pm. Reply #

I was, in fact, the first, but that was some time ago – I think March 2007.

by johnhemming on September 6, 2007 at 10:16 pm. Reply #

I thought Nick Harvey would support a referendum?

by Ian Ridley on September 8, 2007 at 4:15 pm. Reply #

Even speaking as someone who likes direct democracy and would like to see it as a much more prominent feature of our politics, I don’t see why we would support a referendum on this. Voting only works if the electorate are informed and, even if we assume people will vote on the treaty and not the last 30 years of anti-Europe tabloid hysteria, how can the electorate be expected to read and understand a treaty whose text and associated protocols and declarations run to 277 pages?
Parliament should make these decisions otherwise what on earth do we pay them for?

by Benjamin Mathis on September 9, 2007 at 12:51 am. Reply #

Referendums have to be on matters of simple principle. The results of them need also to have an obvious implication. Why? Because the answer that the electorate gives is very blunt – it’s yes or no – there is no rationale or explanation to go with it.

If there was a referendum on the treaty and a majority voted no then what would that mean? Obviously it would mean that we’d have to go back to the drawing board and renegotiate, but what bits do we renegotiate? What parts were so objectionable? Or maybe a majority wanted out altogether. We wouldn’t know. The will of the electorate would be unclear and most likely therefore would go unimplemented.

For that reason, if we are to hold a referendum (and personally I think we should) then it would have to be a question that is basically, “the EU – stay in or get out”? Simple question, simple to understand from the eventual result what it is that the majority want, no ambiguity, and easy to implement… and if we (i.e. the YES camp) won then at least it would make the anti-European pub bore-types shut up, at least for a few years.

by Stuart on September 9, 2007 at 1:29 am. Reply #

As a Lifelong Liberal supporter and Europhile, I am finding it increasingly difficult to justify our present policy on the issue of not supporting our manifesto promise to have a referendum on the European Constitution. I understand the line that the Lisbon treaty is not the constitution, and have deployed that argument in many discussions, but having compared the effects of the two documents (a long and exhausting exercise) the nett effect of the two proposals remain the same. I think a more honourable route would be to support the referendum and actively convince the population that closer European ties are the only way forward for us.

David Cundale

by david cundale on January 23, 2008 at 6:56 pm. Reply #

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