Lib Dem members say ‘No’ (just) to holding in/out EU referendum in next Parliament

by Stephen Tall on February 14, 2010

At the start of the week, Lib Dem Voice invited the members of our private discussion forum (open to all Lib Dem members) inviting them to take part in a survey, conducted via Liberty Research, asking a number of questions about the party and the current state of British politics. Many thanks to the 200 of you who completed it; we’ve been publishing the results on LDV over the last few days.

Back in December, it became clear that the party had yet to decide whether the Lib Dem general election manifesto would promise to hold an in/out referendum on the European Union – though that had been the party’s official position during the Lisbon Treaty debates.

So LDV asked: Do you think the Lib Dems should include in the party manifesto a commitment to hold an in/out referendum on the European Union in the next Parliament?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 41% – Yes
  • 54% – No
  • 5% – Don’t know

A slim-but-decisive majority in favour of dropping the party’s commitment to an in/out referendum – though it’s safe to say that if an EU-related referendum were to be held in the next five years, we’d revert to our view that it should be on the Big Question, rather than the tangential minutiae.

Here’s a sample of your comments:

  • The less attention we draw to Europe the better. Most people don’t care about it; let keep to taxes, education and crime
  • I agree with this commitment when we first made it, but it’s now not important.
  • We said we would do it. We should honour our commitments.
  • Yes, if only because it neutralises any anti-EU stuff on the doorstep.
  • It is highly likely such a referendum would be lost. The real issue is which kind of EU should we have.
  • We should support referenda on major issues. No one under 50 has ever had a chance to have a say on the EU. Given the overlap between the major parties on Europe, a real say is justified and needed.
  • It’s been policy for some years, so why would we want to drop it?