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Nick Watt got there first with the Tory referendum story

ConHome's story yesterday may have been the most noticed and comprehensive account of the new Tory policy on Europe but it is fair to acknowledge that others had already explored the same possibilities.

The Guardian's Nick Watt wrote this on 4th October:

"David Cameron is to rule out a referendum on the Lisbon treaty if the measure is ratified by all 27 members of the EU before next year's general election in Britain... In a move to assuage Eurosceptic anger inside and outside his party, Cameron will instead launch a campaign to repatriate powers which the Tories believe should be held at a national level. Cameron is planning to:

  • Repatriate social and employment powers to a national level. This would effectively mean restoring Britain's opt out from the social chapter and would need the agreement of all 27 member states.
  • Demand greater power over justice and home affairs. Under Lisbon these are voted on under a system which gives no member state a veto. France and Germany are likely to resist change here because it would mean unpicking this part of the treaty which gives Britain an "opt in" – the right to refuse to sign up to laws in this area.
  • Issue a warning to the EU that a Tory government will adopt a hardline stance if its demands are not accepted. This could involve holding a UK referendum on Cameron's more modest proposals or holding up the next round of EU treaties to admit Croatia and Iceland into the union."

ROBINSON-NICK-2 The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson also had this last week:

"The Tories promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will die with their hopes that the Czechs might halt the progress of the treaty into law... David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" to Sun readers of a Euro referendum expires, I'm told, once there is no further chance of stopping the Lisbon Treaty. In its place comes a different cast-iron guarantee of a new law to force any future government to put any future EU treaty to a popular vote."

Tim Montgomerie


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