As expected, last night in Portugal, Gordon Brown has approved the EU Constitution (for that is effectively what it is). He won’t give the people the referendum that the Labour manifesto promised to them but will force his own parliamentary party to back it in the Commons – early next year. The Lords may now be our best hope of stopping Mr Brown.
This morning’s Sun warns the Prime Minister that he "will live to regret breaking his promise" and that it will fight on this issue "right up to and into the next general election".
The Mail reports that "the Prime Minister went ahead with the most fundamental transfer of power to the EU for at least 15 years – still insisting British voters wouldn’t have a say on the matter."
William Hague issued this statement in anticipation of Brown’s giveaway of British powers:
"Gordon Brown is still treating the British people like fools. His spin has reached new depths of cynicism. He still claims that because the name ‘Constitution’ has been dropped this Treaty is somehow different, even though the European Scrutiny Committee has specifically told him his argument is ‘misleading’. He claims that this Treaty is about making a free-trading Europe work better, when he knows that it downgrades the importance of free competition.
Every poll shows that the vast majority of the British people want the referendum he promised and do not believe his arguments. No wonder. His spurious red lines do not cover most of the renamed EU Constitution and can easily be got round. Now that all his arguments against a referendum have crumbled he is desperately trying to change the subject. Gordon Brown bottled out of a general election. Now he won’t listen to voters on Europe either. Why should they trust him when he so clearly does not trust them?"
Just speaking on Radio 4 William Hague focused on the trust issue. This is a Government, he said, that attempts to mislead the British people. It hasn’t delivered on its referendum promise. Gordon Brown claimed that opinion polls didn’t determine his decision to abandon election plans. He said that he was considering cutting inheritance tax before George Osborne’s IHT cuts transformed the political scene. This Treaty, the Shadow Foreign Secretary continued, is about sixty British vetoes being abolished and a permanent EU Presidency. Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved.