An all-party committee of MPs has today accused the Government of downplaying the importance of the new EU Treaty. The report also says that the Treaty is largely the same as the old Constitution in many key respects. Commenting William Hague said:
“Although this report is from a Labour-dominated committee it makes such damaging criticisms of the Government’s case against a referendum that their argument now has no credibility. The report effectively accuses ministers of taking part in a stitch-up designed to cut out public debate. It makes it clear that the Government has not been straight about the impact the Treaty will have on the EU’s foreign policy powers. Above all, the report explicitly states that on foreign policy the Treaty is in substance exactly the same as the EU Constitution."
Read the full Conservative reaction as a PDF here.
The Foreign Affairs Committee’s report coincides with the decision of Open Europe’s I Want A Referendum campaign to organise a vote on the EU Treaty for half-a-million voters in marginal seats:
"In the first wave IWR will hold referendums in 10 marginal constituencies as part of a rolling campaign which will put pressure on Gordon Brown to hold the referendum which the Government promised at the last election. As the Government attempts to ratify the constitutional treaty in Parliament, without a referendum, or even a free vote, IWR will be giving voters a chance to have the vote which the Government is denying them. Activists across the country have been raising funds in order to be able to hold referendums in their local area and IWR has today announced that the first confirmed constituency will be the Scottish seat of East Renfrewshire – where the incumbent MP is Europe Minister Jim Murphy."
Richard Cook, Conservative candidate for East Renfrewshire issued this statement:
"I am delighted that we have been able to raise the funds necessary to deliver a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty to the people of East Renfrewshire. For so many local people the denial of the referendum they were promised by the Government on this issue is simply a matter of trust. How can we trust our own Member of Parliament, Jim Murphy, when he specifically promised a referendum on the EU Constitution in his 2005 election manifesto but now rules it out because he does not feel he can persuade the people of East Renfrewshire of the Treaty’s merits and has decided to delude himself and the country that this Treaty is not the old Constitution by another name? I want to show local people there is a local politician prepared to trust them to make good decisions. It is a shame that Mr Murphy does not seem to value the opinions of his own electorate."
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