Breaking news: Green light given to High Court bid to force Government to hold a referendum on the EU Treatystution. More details on the case here.
Further details as we get them.
10.20am: William Hague's reaction...
"The Government promised a referendum on the EU Treaty which is the Constitution in disguise. It would be a great day for democracy if they were forced to honour that promise."
10.40am: Open Europe's reaction below:
"Open Europe Chairman Lord Leach said:
“This decision renders the Government’s attempt to ratify the Lisbon Treaty sub judice.”
“The Treaty is now in the House of Lords, where it is receiving the thorough scrutiny denied to MPs by the Government’s business managers in the Commons. The Government can - and should - now stay its hand pending the outcome of this judicial review.
“I will be raising this matter urgently in the Lords, as will others. If the Government continues its effort to railroad the ratification Bill through without a referendum, in defiance of its promise to the electorate, voters will conclude that it is as contemptuous of the views of the people as it is of its own political integrity.”
The judicial review will take place on 9 and 10 June. The Lords were due to vote on the referendum issue on 11 June and the Irish referendum is widely expected to take place on 12 June.
In the House of Lords the Liberal Democrats have said they will vote against a referendum, and will not support the “in or out” vote which Nick Clegg previously said the Liberal Democrats were in favour of in the Commons."
12.50pm comment from Global Vision's Ruth Lea:
“It is quite clear that the Lisbon Treaty is in, all but name, the same as the Constitution and we welcome the Hon Mr Justice Owen’s judgement that ‘it is plainly arguable that there is no material difference between their provisions’. Gordon Brown fought the 2005 General Election on a referendum on the Constitution, and we should have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The British people deserve no less.”
4pm further comment from William Hague:
"The Government must now put the bill bringing the renamed EU Constitution into force on hold. It was already plain that this deeply unpopular Government had no moral right to impose this Treaty on Britain without any democratic mandate. Now the courts are looking at the legality of denying a referendum. Under these circumstances it would be shockingly arrogant for ministers to carry on as normal.
After today Gordon Brown may well be scared of what the voters have to say but he cannot wriggle out of his solemn election promise of a referendum. Getting that promise honoured would be a great day for democracy."