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Lisbon is set to be first big test of Coalition

Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers' Alliance was the first ConservativeHome contributor to raise the prospect of Lisbon needing to be re-ratified. This is what he wrote last month:

"Due to various procedural changes, the Lisbon Treaty is going to have to be ratified by Parliament yet again after the General Election. David Cameron has always been explicit that had he been Prime Minister when the Treaty came forward for ratification, he would have held a referendum. Until now that has simply been a hypothetical situation – but now it is set to become a reality."

Screen shot 2010-05-16 at 11.56.24 Now Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell has called for the new government to use this need for Parliament to re-ratify the Treaty to honour his promise to give the British people a vote. This is what Mr Carswell told BBC1's Politics Show:

"I think this is an opportunity for us to table an amendment to try to trigger a referendum, I think we should have a referendum and I think given that we've given an undertaking as a party to hold a referendum if there was any further revision to the European treaties, we need to honour the promises that were made before the election and stick to that and hold that referendum."

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, who is now a Liberal Democrat after being expelled from the Tories, urged Cameron to "slap down" Mr Carswell:

"I think that David Cameron has really got to take the matter in hand and slap down the eurosceptics - he did this very successfully last November in a speech when he he ruled out a phoney referendum.That didn't please them. But they ought to recognise, that in Government, Cameron was going to try and run a serious policy on Europe."

Living with the Liberal Democrats isn't going to be easy if they are all as unctuous as Mr McMillan-Scott.

Cameron has a real opportunity to give the British people a vote on the Lisbon Treaty because of this need for re-ratification. He should take it. Will he? Almost certainly not. It would bring down the Coalition.

Tim Montgomerie

1.15pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: We must not re-ratify Lisbon

3.30pm: For sake of clarification, Lisbon will remain in place if we do not pass this additional legislation but a changed allocation of MEPs will not be possible. The issue for the new UK government is whether to use the need for re-ratification to get something back now or to concede it now in the hope of generating goodwill later.


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