Talks aimed at resurrecting aspects of the EU constitution continue apace.

Margaret Beckett told the European Scrutiny Committee yesterday (a performance "that made the famous Michael Howard Newsnight interview look like an exercise in open government" according to the exasperated Open Europe blog post on it) that:

"Nothing that you could really call negotiations has taken place".

Yet according to the IHT, Nicholas Sarkozy told reporters at the G8 conference today that:

"Tony Blair and I have just agreed on what might be the framework for a simplified treaty. That is quite something."

William Hague has responded to this contradiction with vim:

"Labour ministers seem to be trying to fob off Parliament and the British people while negotiating behind their backs to stitch up an EU Treaty which could see large parts of the rejected EU Constitution smuggled in. This is too important to be part of Blair’s vain quest for a legacy. Gordon Brown should take the talks over now and guarantee that if the new Treaty transfers powers from Britain to the EU by including parts of the EU Constitution, the British people will have their say in the promised referendum."

David Heathcoat-Amory wrote on YourPlatform two weeks ago, that there are four rules for the ongoing treaty negotiations (culminating in the June 21st summit) co-ordinated by Germany:

         1. Don’t call it a Constitution
         2. Keep as much of the substance as possible
         3. Keep the talks private
         4. Don’t allow any more national referendums

Deputy Editor

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