Tag Archives: lisbon treaty

Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood socks it to the Tories over their “dramatic flip-flopping” on in/out EU referendum

martin horwoodWhile most of the country was enjoying yesterday’s sunshine, the Tory party indulged its own carnival of (to coin a phrase) banging on about Europe.

James Wharton’s private member’s bill legislating for an in/out referendum on the European Union to take place by 2017 (a pledge David Cameron has already conceded to his rebellious backbenchers, who don’t believe him) passed its second reading in the Commons by 304 votes to zero.

Only one Lib Dem MP made a speech: Cheltenham’s Martin Horwood. It’s a punchy tour de force which details …

Posted in Europe / International, News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 45 Comments

Opinion: EU Bill is bad Tory policy

The European Union Bill is a Tory policy. The Liberal Democrats went into the last election arguing for a referendum on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU. Thankfully, having lost the election, we were not in a position to test public opinion on that one.

The Conservative party wanted a referendum on the Lisbon treaty in order to repatriate powers and to entrench national sovereignty. On losing the election they discovered that Lisbon was already in force and could not be undone. So their new tactic was to undermine the Lisbon settlement whenever opportunity arose, and it …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments

Opinion: Let’s talk about Europe

I’ve been surprised how little trouble Europe has caused the coalition so far. For all that we were vilified as ardent Europhiles during the election, it’s not really been mentioned since. In allowing it to drop off the radar, I think we’re now missing an opportunity.

Labour were always too scared of mention the E-word; so paralysed by their terror of the Mail’s wrath were they. Cameron too seems content to let the issue lie. The Coalition agreement makes it clear in no uncertain terms that this government won’t go anywhere near changing our current relationship with the EU – both …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Book review: Saving the European Union

Andrew Duff’s book Saving the European Union: The logic of the Lisbon Treaty, written early in 2009, has an endearingly open comment about his own political views compared with those of his colleagues:

My party, the UK Liberal Democrats, and group, the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), have been amazingly tolerant of finding a militant federalist in their midst.

Although an enthusiast for a closer European Union, Andrew Duff recognises the need for pro-Europeans to make their case and starts with the roots of the EU in the ruins of post-1945 Europe. He quotes Winston Churchill saying:

Posted in Books and Europe / International | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Lib Dem MPs split on Euro referendum?

Almost two years ago, in the early weeks of Nick Clegg’s leadership, the Lib Dem parliamentary party managed to tie itself in knots over the question of whether to support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In the end three frontbenchers, David Heath, Tim Farron and Alistair Carmichael, quit after defying the party’s three-line whip to oppose a referendum.

Well, Sky News has the interesting story that the party still hasn’t managed to get its line straight and agreed, re-opening that split:

Now it seems to be deja vu all over again, with a new Lib Dem split in voting

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Cast-iron Conservatism – brittle promises obtained from a flexible friend

On 26th September 2007 David Cameron gave what he called a cast-iron guarantee. The guarantee appeared in a piece published under his name in Mr Murdoch’s Sun. Liberal Democrats, who set some store by their own political education and haven’t read the piece, really should take the opportunity to read it in its entirety.

The aspiring party leader explains that it is an article of faith for him that: “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.” And, because of that, he promises, any Conservative government led by him will “hold a referendum on any EU treaty.”

Mr Cameron explains, in the same piece, that his determination to hold a referendum isn’t simply a reflection of his deepest political beliefs but a practical matter too. It is integral to Conservative economic policy making. Why should that be? The explanation seems straightforward. It is vital because: “One of the great challenges rolling back the tide of bureaucracy.” And, Mr Cameron continues, “you can’t do that without targeting one of the main sources of this bureaucracy – Brussels.”

Without the referendum he’d promised Mr Cameron makes it clear it will not be possible to free UK businesses from red tape; the kind of European regulation which makes it impossible for the UK economy to succeed. Of course what most of us call regulation – and Mr Cameron calls red tape – isn’t quite the easy target that it once was. And Mr Cameron’s cast-iron guarantee has almost completely rusted away.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 4 November 2009

2 Big Stories

Tory trouble as Lisbon Treaty passes
As the Czech President Vaclav Klaus ratified the EU’s Lisbon Treaty – now set to become law within a few weeks – the Conservative Party once again finds itself risking deep divisions over Europe rising to the surface.

As the Daily Express reports:

denied that the party had broken any promises by dropping the referendum pledge.

“A British referendum until this very day would have meant that the Lisbon Treaty wouldn’t enter into force if people voted no. The position of president of the European Council, the foreign minister of Europe, would never have been implemented,” he said.

“We were very clear that our promise applied to those circumstances. After today, those things will come into force and a referendum can’t change them, it can’t unwind them, it can’t prevent those things being created.

However for Tory Eurosceptics it has become an article of faith after Mr Cameron gave a “cast iron guarantee” two years ago that he would give the British people a chance to vote on the treaty.

Eurosceptic Conservative MP Bill Cash said he had written to Mr Cameron urging him to “reconsider” his decision not to hold a referendum, saying the Tory leader had been “badly advised”.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 25th Sep - 2:34am
    Thanks Little Jackie. Cameron got some a concession on free movement - there are ways to twist arms if we are imaginative. We could even...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 25th Sep - 1:33am
    @Dennis Loretta. Thanks for making that point. How many people out if the 75,000 members and 2.4 million voters were at the conference? 2,000 /...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 25th Sep - 1:12am
    Eddie Sammon - I think you are spot on right. But... 1 - The EU institutions can think and say what they want. There are...
  • User Avatarmalc 25th Sep - 12:53am
    Simon Shaw "It’s only when we get close to the next GE that they’ll really let rip with 30 years of facts with which to...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 25th Sep - 12:36am
    Was Stevan Rose at the conference? Surely he knows that the Lib Dems are the only party democratically deciding or endorsing policy - definitely not...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 25th Sep - 12:17am
    We need soft brexit with a concession on free-movement. This is what is pushing people towards hard brexit - they think a concession without serious...