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I suspect that this thread is also likely to attract a lot of comment from UKIPPers as usual.
The fact is that the Conservative members of the EU parliament have no power to enforce ratification or not.
Having said that, the refusal of either Labour or the Lib Dems to honour their manifesto commitments was absolutely deplorable. I hope both parties are severely punished by the electorate on June 4th for their behaviour.

Pressing Gordon for a Referendum is one thing, but not being clear about your own course of action is something else entirely. 'not let matters rest there' is not clear enough.

I want the Referendum we were promised. If the UK electorate then voted to accept the Lisbon Treaty, I would accept it. Until then, I don't. At the Euro elections, I appear to have a choice between UKIP, Libertas, the BNP all against the Lisbon Treaty - and the Tories who are hedging their bets.

Why can't Cameron be as explicit as Dan Hannan? He is going to force me to vote against the Tories.

David Cameron: so opposed to Lisbon that, er, he won't be once it's law (as it will be before the next election). There's no way out of this one: either a.) Lisbon won't be law by the time of of Great Victory, in which case, obviously there's no problem or b.) it is law, in which case, Cameron won't say. Such an inspiring fellow. I think second only to his lunatic support for the spending policies Labour near-bankrupted Britain with, this is what's worst about Dave: the contempt with which he lies, not the lies themselves.

What does Ken Clarke think of this? On a serious note, the Tories really need to be careful bringing Europe to the fore, it is easy pickings for GB.

Nothing has changed. This is the sort of cheap, spineless re-announcement of the same policy that Labour are continually derided for. EU Dave is too scared of his masters in Brussels to rock the boat and will hand over power as commanded. The LibLabCon axis to deprive the electorate of any democratic vote on the future of this country remains intact.

Yet again "We will not let matters rest there". We are sick and tired of hearing this waffle.

All he has to say is "If elected we promise to hold a referendum and if that means abrogating the treaty, so be it"

Why won`t he say it?

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION MR CAMERON? MAKE A CLEAR COMMITMENT THAT IF YOU ARE ELECTED YOU WILL HOLD A REFERENDUM REGARDLESS OR BE SEEN TO BE THE DITHERING LOUDMOUTH YOU SEEM TO BE ON THE SUBJECT AT THE MOMENT. SHOUTING FOR THE ONE THING NOW WHILE HEDGING YOUR BETS JUST IN CASE YOU WANT TO TURN AFTER THE ELECTION. GETTING MORE LIKE YOUR HERO BLAIR EVERY DAY!

I do rather wish people would not "shout" online - it does not add to their eloquence, much as they no doubt wish it did!
This is a good poster. I also wish that at least in the run up to 4th June we could have some positive comments as well as the usual europhobic bile from the usual people.
It is interesting that whenever I meet Conservatives in real life - especially at Party Conference or Spring Forum, none of them are the same as those who come on here to air their grievances against our elected representatives. I would love to have a Conservative Home Get Together organised, if only to meet some of those who post negatively here to see whether they have the "cojones" to come out with some of the same comments face to face.

"What does Ken Clarke think of this? On a serious note, the Tories really need to be careful bringing Europe to the fore, it is easy pickings for GB."

joshuwahah, Ken Clarke was not at Cheltenham over the weekend. His wife Gillian is seriously ill. I am sure we all wish them well. On a general point, despite his well-known views on Europe (and the Conservative is a broad church as I have said many times) he knows that he is part of a team and he is loyal enough to work for his team to win!

Think perhaps some individuals are a little harsh on David Cameron. If ratified before the election, it may be difficult to repeal without having wider, unforeseen implications.

Attempting to force the issue now and 'head-off' the oncoming train is more advisable than waiting until it has passed by and attempting to reverse it down the track

Sally - what a great idea for a ConHome get together.Will need to bring a crash helmet and dark glasses though, as I on balance think its better that we are in the EU than out of it! Still according to your last post there sems to be a chance that I might even find the odd kindred spirit at such a gathering !

Sorry not to have met you at Cheltenham, Peter! Were you there?

Sally, I meet real people in the real world, not the politicians, hangers on and yes men who go to conferences. Over the past few days I have spoken to Hyacinth Bucket types, ex Naval Officers and people who work on construction sites. Without exception they're voting UKIP or BNP. Whether that's representative I don't know but there is a common thread which is an utter loathing for all the traditional parties who are now completely discounted as corrupt, undemocratic and unrepesentative. The people you'll meet at conferences are probably so out of touch with reality they don't even realise what's going on.

Fraid not Sally. Anyway seems that people enjoyed Cheltenham and hope you did as well.

"If ratified before the election, it may be difficult to repeal without having wider, unforeseen implications. "

No its not difficult, its just a matter of will power. We were told for years that the Common Fisheries Policy was carved into stone, and it would take a complete renegotiation of the Treaty of Rome to unpick it. Yet the other day, all be it forty years too late, it dawned on the EU that the CFP was a disaster and they were looking at changing it. But with this announcement the world as we know it didn't come to an end, tomorrow still came, and the day after! Same with the EU Constitution, Cameron should state clearly that ALL British Political parties gave the electorate the promise to hold a referendum. That referendum was not held, thus Brown had no mandate to sign the EU Constitution, and that he Cameron will not honour any undertaking in the EU Constitution until a referendum is held in the UK and the UK electorate give their approval of the Constitution, which would scupper the EU Constitution.

Hi Sally,

I hope Mr Clarke's wife makes a speedy recovery.

You say you are a team and will stick together to win, but he still has an opinion. I am just interested to know what it is. I actually respect Mr. Clarke as a politician and would like to know his opinion.

Mr. Cameron by the way does not need to resort to more style over substance. I thought he had grown out of that. If he and his team are so confident of forming the next Government, then why doesn't he tell us what he would do about the treaty?

"If ratified before the election, it may be difficult to repeal without having wider, unforeseen implications."

What complete ********

I shall reiterate what I said in another thread. Sweden is going to ignore the EU data retention directive but the UK, in its infinite wisdom, is not. Why? I a tiny little country (in terms of political influence) like Sweden dare to challenge the EU why is the UK trembling at the mere notion of doing?

Yes, thank you Peter I did. I hope we will meet some time in the future as I suspect we are like minded on many political things.

How effective this will be will depend upon whether this message is pushed as the single message through the media for the next 5 weeks.

I fear it is just one of many messages so its impact will be diluted.

Kevin - you should try coming to conferences and you would certainly meet many "real people". Of course you never will - you'd so hate to be proved wrong...

Presumably Ken Clarke is signed up to this?

If not back to the Tory Euro wars of the 1990s..

"Sally - what a great idea for a ConHome get together"

Just don't let me near the alcohol.

Hi Tim, Jonathan...

This is a bit off topic but is relevant because it is about off topic, if that makes sense.

I am just reading Sally and Richard J's convo and I am awaiting your famous 'off topic' comment. This got me thinking. Woud it be a good idea, if possible to have an area on the site where people can have an informal chat? I await your answer kind sirs.

"why is the UK trembling at the mere notion of doing?"

Yes the British establishment are feeble in the extreme. We go into EU negotiations holding the most important card, money, yet they somehow manage to contrive that we end up losers, getting treaties we don't want and paying more for the privilege of it.

Not sure you are right about that proEU Tory. Ken has accepted that whilst he still holds to all his EU views, he will not try to chnage the Party's views (perhaps more's the pity!!) but accepts that its the settled mind and will of the Party.Listening to him on TV it seems that he views the curent economic crisis as supeme above all lese and that he should be pepared to help in whatever way he could.

"Conservative Home Get Together organised, if only to meet some of those who post negatively here to see whether they have the "cojones" to come out with some of the same comments face to face."

I suspect that most of the Negative Nelly's would not show up. I had hoped to get to Cheltenham but my wife, Marian (who sometimes posts)has had a couple of bad weeks.
It would be nice to meet up with some of the more committed posters. I tend to picture people only to find out that they look nothing like I imagine.

To get back onto the main thread subject, can we take it that D.C. is committed to holding a referendum on Lisbon, or is it simply that he is trying to get Brown to keep his parties promise to have one?
I try to keep an open mind about Europe, at one time when it was a common market I thought it was a good idea. The current sitution is, it seems to me, the worse possible mess. The cynical way the Irish have been trated is a good example of why I am of the opnion that we would be better off out. The other major factor is the cost. At this time can we continue to justify spending so much money on institutions and oragnisations, that we the tax payer have no control over?

Just a thought but if we did hold a referendum on our membership of Europe and the population indicated that it was very much in favour of the EEC continuing to have ever more power. As democrats would we except that? I know it is hypothetical but I am interested in peoples opinion.

Simple question.

How does voting tory in the EU elections help towards a referendum?

The 'acheivements' of the tory MEPs seem to be 'campaigning' and 'supporting' - no actual deliverables, or minds changed...

We all know that only a couple of tory MEPs are anything other that federalist dinosaur europhiles.

Personally, above all, I want to use the EU elections to damage the EU.

I despise the BNP (for being socialist if nothing else) - but maybe voting for them will make the incoming tory government hate the EU parliament enough to strip it of power.

Leaving the EPP is better than staying in, but it is far too little far too late.

In 1975, Prime Minister Edward Heath, conned the people of Britain into voting in favour of joining the Common Market.

Heath knew that the Common Market was simply a stage in the development of the European Union. As a reward for his treachery over the years, Heath was given enough money to buy an ocean-going yacht and other luxuries.

We need an apology from the Conservatives for Heath's treachery and a referendum on staying in or getting out of the EU.

@joshuwahwah

The thread on the homepage is the best place for off topic chat please.

@Lots of you!

A ConHome event is in the planning stage...

"This got me thinking. Woud it be a good idea, if possible to have an area on the site where people can have an informal chat? I await your answer kind sirs."

That is a good suggestion, joshuwahwah! I made my comments with slight trepidation awaiting the smack of the Editor's hand upon my dainty wristie and perhaps a separate thread for "frivolities" might be a good idea?

This poster is a deception. There is no promise of a referendum from a Conservative government.

@Tim - point 1, duly noted!!
Point 2 - Great news! I shall look forward to it.

"Just a thought but if we did hold a referendum on our membership of Europe and the population indicated that it was very much in favour of the EEC continuing to have ever more power. As democrats would we except that? I know it is hypothetical but I am interested in peoples opinion."

That is a very good question, Ross! I suspect many would say that, to quote a phrase, they would not "let matters rest there"!

I am sorry not to have met you in Cheltenham. Despite the fact that I was a little irritated by your "cheerleader" comment to me over on another thread, I suspect we would get on well if we met in person. I hope your wife is feeling better soon.

This is a deceitful poster because it implies something it can't deliver. Most people will assume a referendum if the Tories "win" the euro elections. It has no bearing on the issue at all.

I am not one that thinks that a decisive referendum AFTER ratification is worthless. It puts down a marker to the EU that unless they listen to the British voters that all cooperation with the EU will cease and they will be vetoed on every possible issue (not many left I know) that obstructionism will be the order of the day. Payments delayed - things like that. It might result in clogging up the Euro-Court completely. It's will-power tha`t's needed not legalistic nit-picking. De Gaulle was good at it!

Thanks Tim.

All I am going to say is that we elect MEP's for 5 years, so I expect an election manifesto to cover everything the party seeks to achieve in that period, rather than narrow the focus down to just one single issue, the LT referendum that may be out of their power

It is dishonest to limit the Tory manifesto to that one point.

The manifesto should clearly state which powers the party wishes to repatriate, with or without an LT vote.

In short, the LT referendum aside, what exactly are the Tories seeking to deliver? How can anyone vote for them without seeing that in black and white?

"Despite the fact that I was a little irritated by your "cheerleader" comment to me over on another thread, I suspect we would get on well if we met in person. I hope your wife is feeling better soon."

It was meant as a compliment, but clearly it was clumsily delivered. I think like myself that when push comes to shove your a loyalist. Prepared to bang the drum for the party when needed.

"In 1975, Prime Minister Edward Heath, conned the people of Britain into voting in favour of joining the Common Market".

In 2009 Cameron and Hague are conning you into believing that they are a Eurosceptic. Read my lips:
Nothing of anything significance will change with our relationship with the EU when the Conservatives are next in power.

AS for the demand for a referendum - there is an election coming up.

Superficially it looks good but it doesn't seem to offer anything substantial. I know what Labour has and hasn't done; what I want to know is what a Cameron government is offering re the EU.

This poster can fairly be described as deceitful and misleading; and also a classic case of 'electioneering'!

Until Cameron comes off the fence on which he is sitting and to which his colours are firmly nailed and tells us what exactly the words 'we will not let matters rest there' means, no-one will be satisfied.

In a letter to me he wrote 'I believe it would be wrong for Britain to leave the EU' It also needs pointing out that membership of this odious organisation sits very well with his statement yesterday that '"We don't believe in taking power, we believe in giving it away"!

For Cameron, in answer to the inevitable questions, to state 'but here we are a year later and they still haven't... so let's concentrate on the here and now' is just 'ducking' the issue.

For any party to put themselves forward at an election and not state categorically where they stand on the issues involved is, as stated above, deceitful and misleading.

Cameron also stated in his speech yesterday 'That relationship, just like any other, is strengthened by honesty; undermined by dishonesty.', so shall we have a tad of honesty; silence or obfuscation is nothing but dishonesty!

Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell have put forward a perfectly good plan to return the government of this country to us - why will Cameron not endorse it?

Toryblog - you like us have not seen the Referendum for these Elections which I would imagine will be published very soon. Once we've seen the fine print we'll all be in a better position to comment.

Christina - The point is that if we treat the Elections on 4th June as Stage 1 in our General Election Campaign (which I believe we should do) it sends a message to Gordon Brown that he has less than a year to deliver a Referendum. We will then see if he puts his money where his mouth is (he won't of course). No one seriously assumes that if we were to win every single Euro Seat in the UK for the Conservatives (a lovely thought!) that on 8th June a Referendum would be announced. With Gordon still in No. 10, it would not be in the Conservatives' gift at that stage. However, if we get a thumpingly good result then it bangs in yet another huge nail into Labour's coffin and builds the momentum for next year.

I am rather vexed at this commentary. I mean the EU is huge and unweildy, full of vested interests, but economically free trade is something we conservatives should treasure. The basic common market is not smething we should fear, if we are willing to stand up for efficient capitalism. I think few of us though want Europe wide policies. David Cameron remains in opposition and so he can't yet declare his hand, for fear Gordon Brown will steal it or burn it to the ground. for the moment tactically it is better to force Gordon's hand. You that want a referendum, stop moaning and rally round. UKIP, BNP and Libertas are seen as a loony fringe by most 'ordinary' people I meet and so to diffuse and waste your vote on them is damaging the Eurosceptic cause.

I agree Sally. As long as the document contains a clear list of the powers the combined Tory MP/MEP group will seek to repatriate over the next 5 years, Cameron will have delivered a manifesto to vote for.

A vague 'wait and see' manifesto that does not contain cast iron power repatriation goals will not be worth the paper it is printed on.

I agree that it is time to put pressure on Brown, but that in itself is not even beginning to be enough.

Now is the time to define Plan B.

I am very happy with Ken Clarke's stance on the EU, because, as has been pointed out, our party is a very broad church, able to emcompass many strands of opinion (even mine). I am sure that KC would accept any line of action that emerges after proper debate.

Having said that, we are now in a new phase; unless something dramatic occurs, Labour is exhausted and has nothing more to offer, so morally it should put the matter to the electorate sooner rather than later.

However, we believe that Brown is so fixated on playing prime minister that he is unlikely to do this unless dragged to the polls by his own party who fear the longer he stays, the longer Labour will be out of power.

We are now therefore almost in election mode and must have clearcut policies ready.

On the EU, I would welcome reaction to a suggestion I have tried out several times without attracting any comments.

Instead of having a referendum on the Lisbon treaty (which is now really too late as Brown has ratified it), we should give the people a real opportunity to express their majority view. Let them have a referendum on whether to stay in the EU, to adopt some form of associate membership or to leave entirely.

That would give democracy a real chance and settle the party's policy once and for all.

Sally - All this humming and ha-ing on all our parts would be more based in reality if it was informed by our Euro-manifesto. Where on earth is it ???

The nearest we've got is Mark Francois's interview in Germany this month which the blog has in original and translation and which I offer to all who want it. Several hundred peiople on MY lists have had it and a number from this blog too.

Why is being hidden from everyone? A~re CCHQ vetoing its distribution ? I wouldn't be surprised, it's good in my view.

Let us hope that commonsense and the real interests of the country prevail and that Ken Clarke's view takes precedence. What is the point of having a referendum on something the vast majority of the people haven't read nor will even understand if they did ? The future of the European Union is a far too matter to be the subject of an emotional or sentimental campaign by UKIP and others who seem to wallow in a false nostalgia. This whole thing calls for strong leadership by David Cameron in order to satisfactorily re-negotiate the treaty -
not to ensure its outright rejection.

Sorry - the word 'serious' was omitted in the fourth line of my post @13.01

Credit to those Tories, all the Tory MPs apart from a very few, who kept the manifesto promise they made to their constituents and voted for a referendum.

Likewise, credit to those Liberal Democrat MPs, a minority, who did the same in defiance of the euromaniac Clegg.

But now the Tory leaders are not being straight with the British people, or indeed with their own party members.

Cameron, Hague and Francois have all said that without approval in a British referendum the Lisbon Treaty would have no democratic legitimacy in this country.

Absolutely correct; but they also know that it cannot gain democratic legitimacy in this country through anything which happens in other countries.

If the Irish vote "yes" in their second referendum in October, that will not, can not, endow the treaty with one iota of democratic legitimacy in this country.

Similarly if the German Federal Constitutional Court declares that the treaty is compatible with the German Basic Law and the President signs it off; or the Czech Senate passes it and the President signs it off; or the President of Poland finally signs it off - none of those events in other countries, singly or taken together, could possibly give the treaty democratic legitimacy in this country.

There's only one honest position for the Tory party - that unless the Lisbon Treaty had been declared officially dead, a Tory government would consult the British people in the national referendum they were promised, irrespective of what may have happened in other countries, and if the British people rejected the treaty then the British instrument of ratification would be revoked.

All this shilly-shallying, vague threats "not to let it rest there", etc, merely confirm the worst suspicions about the true intentions of the Tory leadership.

So rather than all this nonsense about putting pressure on Gordon Brown, which the Tory leadership knows perfectly well will have no effect whatsoever, and which is unlikely to fool anyone except those who want to be fooled, Tory members would do much better to put pressure on the Tory leadership to make a crystal clear, unambiguous promise that unless the treaty was dead we would have our national referendum, within the first three months of a Tory government, even if the treaty had already come into force.

In other words, an updated version of that promise Cameron previously made, on September 26th 2007:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/eu_referendum/article273758.ece

"Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations."

And as I've said before, by making that promise Cameron would be doing a kindness to our friends in Ireland, who are now being tormented with a second referendum simply because Cameron refuses to say that even if the Irish people voted "yes" on the second time of asking, the British people would still have their referendum - so why not wait, and see what happens with that?

Spot the deliberate mistake!

"you like us have not seen the Referendum for these Elections.."

Of course I meant Manifesto but Toryblog at least was sensible enough to pick this up!

I know you are getting a bit scatty these days Sally, and quietly make allowances... ;-)

Thank you Toryblog! I am making provisions for my imminent move to the Sunshine Rest Home for Retired and Incurable Europhiles. All visitors welcome.

The Conservative position is very clear. If the Lisbon Treaty has not been ratified by the time of the general election and there is a Conservative government then the treaty will be put to the British people in a referendum. If it has been ratified then a Conservative government will seek to change it at least, and the general position of the Conservative front bench is not supportive of the treaty as it stands. I have that first-hand. However, a ratified international treaty is a pretty complex thing to unpick and I understand why David Cameron is avoiding glib language on the subject.

In practical terms there are two things to bear in mind. Firstly, the only thing that might cause the current government to keep their manifesto promise to give us a referendum now is a strong vote for the Conservatives in June. If Labour feel that this is an issue that will lose them votes in a general election then they may think again. A vote for UKIP or the BNP on this subject puts them under no such pressure, because those parties are only minor players in general elections. Supporters of both parties may not like this, but it doesn't make it any less true. The second thing to consider is the delay in ratification itself. In the current environment I simply cannot see the Irish government trying to push through a referendum having lost the last one while their economy is in the middle of a crisis. The politics simply don't make sense. The Irish arguments in favour are much weakened because of the devastation of their economy and the constraints that euro membership is putting on the actions they can take. If they couldn't get it past their people before then there is little chance they could do so now, even if they were prepared to spend the political capital and take the attack that they should be concentrating on sorting out Irelands immediate problems. In this context the Conservative guarantee of a referendum if the treaty has not been ratified by the next general election becomes highly relevant.

Jolly good poster! Right on target!

If we all pile in and ensure a Conservative victory in the euros, you never know, Brown might do a U turn and give us the referendum we all want!

That would be marvellous wouldn't it!!

" am making provisions for my imminent move to the Sunshine Rest Home for Retired and Incurable Europhiles"

You're joining the Commission!?!!!

The British people voted "yes" to a Common Market and I believe that they would want to vote the same way if given the chance.In other words,anything other than,or more than a Common Market will always be unacceptable to the British voter.

Picking up on the comment by JS at 1301:

Like so many he/she seems to miss the point; there is only one fundamental question in respect of our membership of Europe and that is who governs Britain, the British or the EU? It is not as JS states, 'an emotional or sentimental campaign by UKIP and others who seem to wallow in a false nostalgia'. That statement brings JS and those who think this no kudos'.

Following on from that is the question of local democracy, which presently is a sham and designed to fit into the 'bureaucratic' model that is the EU.

I just wish all defenders of Cameron would go read The Plan and then come back and debate. If all those 'defenders' were true Conservatives they would back Hannan & Carswell. I repeat my earlier question - why will the Conservative Party and Cameron not adopt it?

I have a question to ask.

If the treaty is fully ratified and brought into force before the 2010 election, what would the point of a UK referendum be other than to sulk about the fact many of us were stupid enough to believe Labour in 2005?

If money is really so tight that we're calling for the removal of bottled water from public-sector offices then I think we shouldn't hold a futile referendum either.

I will not back a post-ratification referendum until I am convinced with actual, legal arguments that it will have any real effect.

Give it time, Toryblog...Give it time!

Yes, thank you Peter I did. I hope we will meet some time in the future as I suspect we are like minded on many political things.

Posted by: Sally Roberts | April 27, 2009 at 12:06

Whatever our thoughts and beliefs there will always be areas of difference. Makes us all human.
As for Europe, this initiative is aimed at Labour hypocrisy. Back in the 70s they were anti-Europe. I suggest most Conservatives want a trading bloc not a political giant pig trough.
Finally, do not lose sight of the Labour McBride factor. Any daft criticism and personal antipathy towards our Leadership on here is manna to the sods. Loyalty is desperately important. Not subjugation but think, before you mouth off in public.

It would be a bloody miracle.

From a cynical point of view I'd say that Cameron saw the sort of reception Dan Hannan got at the Forum and began to wonder if he wasn't a bit out of touch on this one. About time.

What the Euro-sceptic Conservatives mostly want is just the thing we have always been promised by almost everyone. A referendum. If it has been ratified then it *should not have been* without the promised referendum. With that in mind the new government should simply declare it null and void and hold the referendum anyway. If nothing else it would teach the unelected European powermongers that somebody, somewhere, still gives a damn about democracy and keeping their word. For it to be the Mother Of Parliaments where this happens is right and fitting.

I respect the views of pro-Europe friends and colleagues (rare though they seem to be) but surely even if you are a pro-Europe Tory you must realise that when our political masters make a promise that something wont happen without a referendum to allow it then to do so would be a travesty of justice, democracy and plain common sense.

If there is a referendum then for my part I'll debate, argue, campaign and fight to say "no". If the side I support loses, fair enough, I'll sit on my hands (albeit horrified). That's democracy at work. But to kick democracy in the teeth and leave it dying in the gutter... can we really stand by and watch that happen?

I honestly don't care if Mr Cameron did this as a response to Dan Hannan, or as an election strategy, or as a dare after a wild night on Jaegermeister shots. It's a step in exactly the right direction. Now let's just go one step further and promise the referendum 'whatever'. That would be the best announcement this year.

My

"It would be a bloody miracle"

was for Freddy @ 13:35 -

"Jolly good poster! Right on target!

If we all pile in and ensure a Conservative victory in the euros, you never know, Brown might do a U turn and give us the referendum we all want!

That would be marvellous wouldn't it!!"

- who I now belatedly realise was intending to be satirical.

Sorry to be so slow on the uptake, Freddy.

[email protected] - 'the fundamental question is....who governs Britain?' With respect that is not the most important question - the most important by far is what is right for Britain's governance in the 21st century, what is right for keeping future European (including British) stability and peace, what is right for this country's political and economic success and right for both the long-term security and prosperity of its people. The answer to all that, and much, much else, is the firm unquestioned continuance of our membership of a strong and growing European Union, the increase in our close involvement in its development and our willing participation in all its institutions. It offers us, indeed, a prospect of an exciting future - it is sad so many faint hearts are so short sighted that they fail to see this.

Cameron is sailing with the wind on Lisbon.

The lower the Irish economy sinks the more eurosceptic the voters become, making the second referendum anything but a done deal.

Vaclav Klaus is holding up Czech ratification possibly indefinitely, and the German Supreme Court is taking a long time to pass judgement on the case currently before it, challenging Lisbon as unconstitutional.

Poland is also withholding ratification.

As the financial crisis breaks, the Euro seems less and less likely to pull through. In the midst of the chaos, the chances of Lisbon being ratified by May 2010 are receding.

Brown has nailed his colours to the Lisbon mast, and like all his other schemes where New Labour hoped to be backing winners, the good ship Lisbon seems to be headed for the rocks.

Brown's, Sarkozy's and Merkel's careers will sink along with the Treaty. If Hague and Cameron get into position to ride Lisbon's collapse, their careers should prosper.

But Lisbon's collapse will sadly owe little to them. The danger for Cameron and Hague not ramping up enough of an anti-Lisbon footing early enough, is that D Hannan and B Johnson might be left smelling of roses, and their star starts to fade.

@Denis Cooper

I was NOT intending to satirical!!!!!!

Let's try and do something practical for a change. I suspect a lot of people are getting fed up with the absurd rants which seem to get posted on this site every time something to do with Europe is mentioned.

This is CONSERVATIVEHOME, not, I repeat not,
UKIP CORNER!!!!!!!

Steve @ 13:59

As Nigel Farage and others have pointed out many times, the LT would not be ratified in the first place if Cameron offered an unequivocal, no ifs, no buts referendum pledge.

Cameron is actually in a position of amazing power, based on the current poll leads, and could kill the LT dead now.

It would be that simple.

Considering that Cameron is making such a noise about not just needing a referendum, but also noting that he will campaign for a 'no' vote, why would you sit by and wait until it is too late, instead of killing it now?

That is why I am sure that this is all just a terribly cynical political game by Cameron.

Here is the prepared statement for Cameron:
"All major British parties pledged to give the British people a referendum to decide their agreement or opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. Considering that Labour and the LibDems have reneged on this cast iron manifesto pledge, we consider the British ratification of the LT as invalid until the British people have voted on it.

The EU can only succeed with the support of the people. It is in the interests of Britain and the EU that the British people are given the vote they were promised, and we therefore ask our fellow EU members who are yet to ratify the LT, not to do so until after the British general election in May 2010 at the latest."

As Nigel Farage and others have pointed out many times, the LT would not be ratified in the first place if Cameron offered an unequivocal, no ifs, no buts referendum pledge.

Toryblog, why wouldn't it be ratified? Brown has already ratified on behalf of the UK. The EU itself would not stop ratification because a future potential (even if likely) PM said he disagreed - why would it if it didn't accept the Irish "no" vote?!

So how is Cameron going to stop ratification merely by saying he'll have a referendum? Please provide specifics rather than recycle propaganda from the UKIP piggies who themselves have their snouts deep into the Brussels trough.

"Toryblog, why wouldn't it be ratified?"

I am sure Vaclav Klaus would happily delay ratification until May 2010 if Cameron pledged a British referendum.

Remember Raj, it hasn't been ratified yet. Brown isn't going to u-turn, so it is pointless playing political games.

Remember, in won't be in the interests of the European countries yet to ratify to fall out with the party likely to form the next UK government.

But to move from the theoretical to concrete reality, why doesn't Cameron simply phone the Czech President and ask him?

He could do that *today*.


I agree that the UK needs to be part of Europe and to contribute to its institutions. The questions is what sort of Europe?

Many of us, including I think, the leaders of the Conservative party have a vision of Europe that is not that set forward in the Treaty of Lisbon. In the long term we are both British and pro-European but we feel that balance of power between Westminster has shifted too far towards Brussels and this should be corrected.

As Daniel Hannan pointed out in his speech, most of the EU commissioners are failed left-wing politicians so there is a close bond between our Prime Minister and the Europe envisged in the Lisbon Treaty.

The more Europhile, but ant-LT, nations can delay the ratification process, the better. It is far better to acknowledge that the European Constitution has failed and that the people of Europe should decide their destiny rather than having to renegotiate the LT after the Conservatives come into power.

Cameron has noticed that the two biggest political hits swinging the polls recently have been internet events.

Hannan's 2 million plus Youtube hits, and Guido's Smeargate. If the internet continues to take over from the MSM, the EU having nil democratic basis, will in time be finished.

UKIP and BNP don't worry Cameron, as combined they hurt Labour more than Tory. But if another wing of the Conservative Party got the credit for sinking Lisbon, that would worry Cameron and Hague.

Hence the resubmission of the anti-Lisbon sounding policy at this stage - to be ready to move and sound as if it was planned in, when Lisbon finally does sink.

The referendum on a sunk Lisbon will be irrelevant anyway, as the Treaty will be dead so why the need for a vote? The only referendum worth holding is on EU membership total.

I was at the Spring Forum at Cheltenham. William Hague was very clear. If the LT (Constitution) is not ratified by the time of the next election, a referendum will be held immediately thereafter on the treaty. There is no point talking about the what ifs as it involved speculating on imponderables. Better to concentrate on making our position clear on the situation as it is now.

As many others on this thread have pointed out, the chances of the treaty being ratified is receeding and our commitment on that has probably done what others have been asking for

A thought occurs to me! How many Labour MPs might defy the Government whip if there was another debate in Parliament?

JS at 14.19

The funamental question is that which I posed, as all your other points depend on this one question.

I repeat all your points are for the British people to decide and not those over whom we have no control.

To you and those who think like you, it is indeed 'sad so many faint hearts are so short sighted that they fail to see this.'

I respect your right to decide to sell your soul and birthright, but please do not ask me to do likewise!

Another thought!
There is probably someone out there who knows how to set up an internet petition site, as seen in the Downing Steet "Gordon should resign" petition.

An internet petition site demanding a referendum for all countries in the EU might give an idea of how many people in Europe don't want the LT.

Any takers?

The UKIP fantasy ignores the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and all the rest of the legal framework holding our world together. If you throw that baby out with the bath water, then all bets are off on all of history's boundary disputes, peace treaties, etc.

You could argue that our consent was flawed because the government indicated that consent was restricted by the application of a referendum that was never made. This is I think I slightly different point than the failed case claiming breach of manifesto commitment. But I imagine that the restriction had to be formally notified to the other parties for it to have effect; it would be interesting to know if it had been.

But to argue that the currently recognized UK regime, ghastly man though Brown is, is holding power illegally is to trash the UK constitution in a fit of pique.

So if one finds oneself facing a dubiously ratified multilateral treaty modifying other treaties it is a genuinely complicated question of what options one has.

Of course the joy of backing UKIP, BNP, Greens or the LibDems is knowing that no one takes your opinions very seriously - so you can play to the balcony on issues that perhaps you - like me - understand little of.

Funny we don't see posts from UKIP anymore point out how Cameron is never actually going to leave the EPP? Wonder why that is.

"what is right for keeping future European (including British) stability and peace, what is right for this country's political and economic success and right for both the long-term security and prosperity of its people. The answer to all that, and much, much else, is the firm unquestioned continuance of our membership of a strong and growing European Union"

In your opinion. What makes you so sure you are so right that nobody else should be able to vote on the matter?

"the increase in our close involvement in its development and our willing participation in all its institutions."

Please explain to me how we benefit from the EU being anything more than a free trade area. The CAP, CFP, social chapter, common external tariff, numerous regulations on business - how do we benefit from these? How do we suffer by having an arrangement which simply gives us access to European markets and allowing them access to ours?


"It offers us, indeed, a prospect of an exciting future - it is sad so many faint hearts are so short sighted that they fail to see this"

What exactly is so exciting about a federal Europe? What is so exciting about a system where rules and regulations can be enforced on this country even if our own electorate doesn't want it? I repeat my above question - what is so exciting about the CAP, CFP, social chapter etc?

Personally I am rather excited by the idea of a European free trade area that allows its various nations to set their own economic and social policies.

rcs : ""A thought occurs to me! How many Labour MPs might defy the Government whip if there was another debate in Parliament?"

Very few, I fear.

I previously wrote to my MP, Glenda Jackson, on the subject of the Lisbon Treaty.

I hoped that as she was an anti-Blairite, far-leftist, and happy to be a thorn in the side of the government, she might be inclined to defy the government on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty.

Unfortunately the letter I received back from her revealed no evidence of independent-mindedness as far as the EU is concerned.

"....what is right for this country's political and economic success and right for both the long-term security and prosperity of its people. The answer to all that, and much, much else, is the firm unquestioned continuance of our membership of a strong and growing European Union"

Really? Our trade deficit with the EU for the nine years 1997-2005 was £72.5bn with no improvement since then. Overall our membership costs us around £25bn a year net. Thus, it is very difficult to see how membership is right for our economic success.

"....a growing European Union". Articles are starting to appear in the German press to the effect that the EU is already over-extended.

In fact, Germany could find itself hoist by its own petard. Having pushed for the euro to safeguards its export markets it could soon be in a position of having to bail out several of the eurozone countries if the single currency is to survive. Der Spiegel carried a piece along those lines recently, pointing out that Germany's share of the bailout bill would be one fourth of the total amounting to billions.

Most empires fail when they over-extend. I see no reason to think the empire that is the EU will buck that trend.

As far as the Conservatives' poster is concerned, its a good step in the right direction. I look forward to the next step.

RJ at 15.14

Well said - personally I could not be bothered to fisk such a vacuous and purile statement as that of JS

David Bouvier at 15.08

Why is it a (UKIP)fantasy? the UKIP proposal is no different to that of Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell in The Plan - both Conservative members of their respective parliaments. Are you saying two of your own are living in a fantasy land? Surely not!


I will vote Conservative in June and in the following national election but if Cameron fails to give us a referendum on the Lisbon treaty it will be for the last time.

On two matters which are more fact than personal opinion:

1. It is widely accepted in and around the EU institutions that the Irish government is planning for a second referendum round about October.

2. The opinion polls suggest that Ireland's dire economic problems have actually increased popular support for the Lisbon Treaty.

I don't say that the second referendum will definitely be in October, or indeed even that there will definitely be such a referendum, but a second referendum in October is by far the most likely scenario.

Nor do I say that a second referendum in October would definitely lead to a "yes" vote, as there's always the possibility that opinion will swing back.

However, it is totally mistaken to suggest that the chance of the Lisbon Treaty coming into force is receding, disappearing or diminishing.

Of course, Cameron is well aware of this.

Steve Horgan at 13:33 - I'm afraid the Irish government IS going ahead and today we learn that "Irish government to launch €550,000 'media blitz' ahead of Lisbon referendum" [That's a lot of money in a small country!

Raj @1352 - Of course it won't but the EU is not all powerful - You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Armed with a referendum rejection of Lisbon you can do a hell of a lot provided you have the guts. See de Gaulle's tactics.

Tapestry @ 1424 :The lower the Irish economy sinks the more eurosceptic the voters become" Not according to the polls which suggest they are frightened of out there all on their own.

This poster remains deceitful because it leaves the Tories a loophole big enough for a London bus - a very bendy one.

I think that oldrightie's comment @ 13.54 is pretty spot-on and we definitely should not forget the Labour McBride Factor, it has not gone away just because smeargate No.1 has come and gone!

There were suggestions that the second referendum in Ireland should be held on the same day as the EU Parliament elections, but that never made any sense. There were also suggestions that it might be squeezed in this spring, but that would have been difficult. This autumn has always been and still is the most likely time, ie round or about October.

Everybody within the EU institutions knows what Cameron has promised, so on the basis of that promise the referendum must be held before he becomes Prime Minister. Equally, even if the opinion polls here seemed to give Labour a chance, Brown would not risk allowing Cameron into No 10 before the Irish have had the opportunity to reverse their "no".

Once again, Cameron knows all this.

These 'Poster' launches are the deception. I am sure they only print ONE and place it on a Lorry or Van and get the press there!

Tell me, please, where in the Country has this poster been placed?

On the Conservative deception -which it has been throughout recent history- on the question of the EU (The Common Market is the only thing the British People supported!)

David Cameron should have given Mr Hannan's speech yesterday. Then he would have a unique position for any political party in Westminster. An Anti EU position.

As Mr Hannan pointed out being opposed to the EU is NOT being opposed to Europe.

Cameron is wedded to the EU dream! He will not say anything other than this, and hope that the Lisbon Treatystution is sorted before the next General Election!

He talks like Blair, He looks like Blair (Guido has a photo which maked Cameron look identical to Blair!) He is trying to con the people like Blair.

Will we buy another PUP?

Uh – why does he have to “launch a campaign” ? He expects to become PM ? Then it’s simple. Go on Dave, say it. “ Irrespective of the ratification status we will hold a referendum, and if the result is no, we will reverse the UK’s acceptance”.

Can’t ? Won’t ? Then it’s just weasel words, trying to prop up the vote for the euro-elections.


Regardless of whether the LT is ratified by Ireland and the other countries still to ratify it, the EU Commission will continue with the implementation of its contents, exactly as they did after the rejection of the "Constitution". The LT may be declared to be officially dead, but this will not halt the EU Project of ever closer integration.

For all practical purposes therefore, renegotiation of the LT is simply not an option and a referendum about whether or not to accept it, ratified or unratified, will really be a referendum upon whether we wish to be in or out of the EU.

It would obviously be necessary, assuming that the referendum rejected the LT (and EU membership), for Britain to negotiate an entirely new relationship with the EU, however, the track records of previous British governments in negotiating with the EU has not been an inspiring one, so a Conservative manifesto should clearly set out the essential terms of any such new negotiations.

The money the Irish government are planning on the new referendum campaign doubtless comes from the EU's coffers. In other words, we are helping to pay for it.

Taking up David Parker's point about the EU going ahead with the implementation of its contents regardless of whether or not the LT is ratified, Der Spiegel has been running articles on how the EU is pressing ahead with plans to open embassies including training for the diplomatic staff who will man them. The same publication had an article on plans in hand for a massive re-vamping - at an equally massive cost no doubt - of the EU "quarter" in Brussels.

If there is one thing in life that is certain, it is that the EU knows how to spend our money.

"These 'Poster' launches are the deception. I am sure they only print ONE and place it on a Lorry or Van and get the press there!"
drakes drum | April 27, 2009 at 16:11

A serious question. Jonathan Isaby, could you ask CCHQ how many large poster sites will have this message. I know of one area where there will be no large billboard posters for either the Euros or the locals.

"however, the track records of previous British governments in negotiating with the EU has not been an inspiring one,"

Yes it would help if we didn't have the fifth columnists from the Foreign Office 'negotiating' on our behalf.

That's not correct, David Parker.

The Lisbon Treaty is an amending treaty, that is, a treaty to amend the present EU treaties; therefore a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is only a referendum on its proposed amendments to the present EU treaties, not on the present treaties.

Which is why Ireland is still in the EU, and like all the other member states still under the present EU treaties, even though the Irish people rejected the proposed amendments to those treaties.

I rather like this poster. It accords with my experience on the streets campaigning to be an MEP for Wales - the duplicity of the approach taken by Labour over the Lisbon Treaty is absurd.

The problem with promising a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty if it is in force is a legal one. What is the purpose of such a referendum? You cannot withdraw ratification once the treaty is in force - that, I am sorry to say, is the law of treaties.

The UKIPPERs here and elsewhere want that referendum because they believe that would bring them closer to their aim - leaving the EU. The Conservatives don't want to leave the EU if that can be avoided - 'in Europe not run by Europe' to quote William Hague - they want the EU to work for Britain and they see ways in which that can be achieved - and that will already require some negotiations.

The Lisbon Treaty is illegitimate in the sense that the party that brought it into force is one of the parties that promised a referendum on its near-identical twin, the Constitution (or Constitutional Treaty if you're from Labour). By reversing their stance on the referendum, Labour is effectively revoking its own stance in 2005 - and the claim that the result in that election gives them a mandate to sign us up to Lisbon is dishionest and the accession is illegitimate.

However, the signing of Treaties is a matter of the Royal Prerogative - and as a matter of law it has effect from the date of ratification. If not ratified, the Conservatives say that they would withdraw the instruments of ratification - which in law they can do - and hold the referendum (in which I would campaign against for a number of good reasons); abiding by any result.

If ratified, we cannot withdraw ratifiction - so the things would not be allowed to 'rest there'. Understandable as it is that people would be frustrated by not being privy to what is being considered - and I have no special privilege myself - but would you want your lawyer to enter a negotiation with his cards laid out well in advance, or would you want him to keep some back to spring on the other side during the negotiation?

The issue on everyone's mind, of course.

They aren't saying that they'd campaign for a No vote. They have never said that.

This whole referendum business is a distraction. They pointedly failed to put down a Second Reading amendment which did not mention a referendum, but simply rejected the Treaty itself because of what was in it.

In office, they would have signed it without protest and ratified it without a referendum. They are the party of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. And they always will be.

I have noticed a trend on Conservative Home of people commenting that a vote for UKIP and others is a 'wasted vote' that will let in Labour or Lib Dem federalists.

Its a complete and utter UNTRUTH!!!

In a general election it would be a wasted vote, but in the EU elections we have Proportional Representation. EVERY vote counts. A vote for UKIP is only 'wasted' if it is not supported by an enough additional voters-which is of course what the Tory EUphiles want, hence their 'wasted vote' argument.

Now I would LOVE the Tories to committ to reintroducing FPTP for EU elections if they get back into government-in which case I would vote Tory without hesitation.

But as it stands, there is no reason not to vote with my conscience this time. I will want to see a LOT more committment to an Anti-EU platform from David Cameron if I am to be persuaded to vote Tory this June.

I wish people would understand,the EU needs UK more than we need the EU.

The UK is the single biggest trading partner of the Eurozone,the phraze'cutting your nose off to spite your face' is what the EU would be doing to upset the UK.

Without EU exports to the UK,the Eurozone has a huge trade deficit,just last week the Irish PM is blaming the weakness of Sterling,for the export collapse of Irish goods to the UK.

UK exports £16bn a month goods & services to the EU.
EU exports £18bn a month goods & services to UK.

Nobody is going to throw a wobbly in the EU,if Britain rejects the Lisbon Treaty,continues to give the membership fee & negotiates a new agreement with the EU.

David wants to be PM,being PM means taking tough decisions in the interests of the country,he needs to show he will do what Brown has failed to do.

I just don't understand how using your vote for UKIP or the BNP in the Euro elections would make any difference at all. The only people able to deliver a referendum is wither Labour or the Conservatives in Westminster, and seeing as Labour wont deliver it, it must be the Tory party... But voting for UKIP/BNP would achieve nothing in the Euro Parliament, as they would still lack the political clout to make any changes, so whats the point?

"You cannot withdraw ratification once the treaty is in force"

Obviously incorrect. If that were true, there would have been no point holding the 1975 referendum, which was a retrospective referendum.

If the answer to that had been "no", the UK would have withdrawn its ratification of the accession treaty, even though that treaty had been in force for over two years.

The UK,despite the common conception is one of the biggest trading nations in the world.

We export £32-£33bn a month.

The UK on avg exports around £380bn a year.GOODS & SERVICES.

We import about £430bn a year.

The drop in Sterling is welcome,the circumstances how it has come about are not.

It is forcast if Sterling was at its present level,in a growing world economy we would expect to export a record £420bn.

All we are doing is closing a competitive gap with the rest of the world as far a currency goes.

We trade with the world,and should be free to do so,on our own initiative,free from Brussels red tape.

There is a very good reason why the British government is far more keen on the Data Retention Directive than the Swedes. It was the British government that authored most of the directive, and pushed hardest for it to be adopted by the Council of Ministers. Labour are so gung-ho about implementing it because it's their directive.

"However, the signing of Treaties is a matter of the Royal Prerogative"

Correct, at present the negotiation and signature of treaties is still a matter of the Royal Prerogative.

However, in almost all cases Parliament has the opportunity to object to a treaty between signature and ratification, under the Ponsonby Rule:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldconst/236/23612.htm

"The Ponsonby Rule requires that every treaty signed by the United Kingdom subject to ratification should be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days (although they need not be continuous). The FCO interprets the Ponsonby Rule as applying to acceptance, approval and accession as well as to ratification. "Acceptance" and "approval" have the same legal effect as ratification, and "accession" arises when the United Kingdom Government consents to be bound by a treaty of which it was not an original signatory. The Ponsonby Rule does not apply to treaties that enter into force on signature."

If the terms of a treaty negotiated and signed by the executive, the government, will or may require changes to domestic law, then the treaty must be approved by the legislature, Parliament, before final ratification.

"and as a matter of law it has effect from the date of ratification"

No, it has effect from the date it comes into force. If the treaty does not require ratification, that may be on the date it is signed, or on an agreed date after it has signed, but if it requires ratification it is a date after all of, or enough of, the contracting parties have deposited their instruments of ratification, depending on what it is agreed between the contracting parties.

In the case of any treaty to amend the EU treaties, Article 48 of the present Treaty establishing the European Union, which is in legal force, lays down that an amending treaty can only come into force after it has been ratified by all of the member states.

In the specific case of the Lisbon Treaty, its Final Provisions lay down that

"This Treaty shall enter into force on 1 January 2009, provided that all the instruments of ratification have been deposited, or, failing that, on the first day of the month following the deposit of the instrument of ratification by the last signatory State to take this step."

So if Ireland was the last state to ratify, after a repeat referendum in October, then I suppose with a rush the treaty could come into force on the first day of November, or otherwise December or maybe January.

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