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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Daily View 2×2: 2 November 2009

With just 59 days til the end of the third millennium’s first decade, we can celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the birth of BBC1, and that it’s 49 years to the day since Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

2 Big Stories

Johnson faces backlash over decision to sack drugs advisor

The fall-out continues from Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to sack Professor David Nutt as chair of his scientific advisory body on drugs policy – The Times reports:

The Government is facing mass resignations from the official advisory body on drugs after the sacking

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

Cameron tested by the choppy waters of welfare, Lisbon and Marr

At the start of his party’s conference in Manchester, Tory leader David Cameron has announced plans “to get Britain working again” – but his comments have drawn a sharp response from the Lib Dems’ shadow work and pensions secretary Steve Webb:

This is yet more Tory posturing. Much of what David Cameron is proposing – such as reviewing people on incapacity benefit – is happening already.

“But the central assumption – that unemployment is simply about the workshy not applying for jobs – is ridiculous in the middle of a global recession. There are parts of the country now where there are already 100 people applying for every vacancy. So forcing more single parents and people with health problems to apply for the same jobs is far more about posturing than about tackling unemployment.”

Mr Cameron is having a tough 24 hours. First, he is having to defend his party’s precarious position on Europe, refusing to say what the party’s policy will be when the Lisbon treaty is ratified (other than he “will not let matters rest”, whatever that means).

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Would slavery have been abolished under Farage?

It would be nice to think that the 18th century British parliament saw the light and abolished slavery when the matter was first put to them. But we all know that isn’t what happened. William Wilberforce and his colleagues lost the vote on their first attempt. And their second. And their third.

So Nigel Farage’s suggestion, made on RTE, that the Irish referendum score on the Lisbon Treaty is now 1-1 and we should have a decider is very strange. Would we ever have abolished slavery if Farage had been in charge of the voting? …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

Nick welcomes Ireland’s Lisbon yes vote, says Tories are “embarrassing themselves”

Ireland’s yes to the Lisbon Treaty was emphatic (albeit at the second time of asking): 67% voted to approve it, with just two of the 43 constituencies rejecting it, on an icnreased turnout of 58%.

Nick Clegg was quick to welcome the result – and to note the awkward situation David Cameron now finds himself in:

This result finally puts to rest years of wrangling over Europe’s future and paves the way for a stronger and more democratic European Union.

“The worst thing would be to re-open this self-indulgent debate. David Cameron should now finally accept the treaty as a fact of life instead of plotting with Eastern European nations to have it blocked. The Conservatives are already embarrassing themselves and Britain with their petulant impotence on Europe.

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 9 June 2009

2 Big Stories

From the Guardian, Gordon Brown’s great escape:

A chastened Gordon Brown yesterday promised his backbench critics that he would learn from his mistakes, as he survived Labour’s worst national election results since 1918 and some of the most personal attacks ever mounted on his governing style.

At a private inquest staged only hours after the party came third in the European parliamentary elections, with less than 16% of the vote, a rebel attempt to call for a secret ballot on his leadership was seen off by party loyalists.

Speaking to a packed meeting of Labour MPs and peers,

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Opinion: Time for a U-turn on Lisbon Treaty

Let’s call a spade a spade: given the BNP electoral successes I think this is probably one of the most important things we can do in politics right now. Last night was not a good set of results for the Lib Dems; anything that places our national vote share behind Labour’s simply is not good enough.

Rather than do an exhaustive analysis I intend to do something novel, something that has not been done much during this electoral cycle, and focus on a European issue.

I remember one of the first blog posts that I wrote critical of a position …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

Ed Davey on Lisbon treaty: “I’ve read all the key parts”

Caroline Flint, Labour’s minister of state for Europe, sparked some minor controversy earlier this week, after she admitted she had not read parts of the Lisbon treaty: “I have read some of it but not all of it,” she confessed. The Tories professed their outrage, seemingly forgetting Ken Clarke’s famous declaration, back when he was a senior member of John Major’s cabinet, that he had not read the Maastricht treaty.

LDV felt duty-bound to put the question to Ed Davey, the Lib Dems’ shadow foreign secretary – here’s what he told us:

I’ve read all the key parts, but there

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



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 1st Aug - 1:42am
    Globalisation has meant that products once made in the Uk are now often made in Asia and services, like computer programming, once provided by UK...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Aug - 1:13am
    We get a lot of these LDV "Labservatives go crazy in Little Wotting" articles. Invariably, before we can understand what is really going on, we...
  • User AvatarMatGB 1st Aug - 12:57am
    Mike, that's part of the agreement with the Tories, although they haven't agreed to it yet they have agreed to run a consultation on it.
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 1st Aug - 12:43am
    @James Brough No, the LibDems were not known as the Liberals then, nor are they the Liberals now. The Liberals still exist as a separate...
  • User AvatarMike Drew 1st Aug - 12:40am
    Why not scrap the Cabinet system and run by proportionate committees - no need to worry about joint administrations. Back in the days of Avon...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Aug - 12:39am
    Clegg should have been forced out for that and for any number of other errors and betrayals. But he wasn't, because too many of us...