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"Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved."

Sorry, say that again. I thought Cameron had unequivocally pledged to give us a vote no matter what happens in between.

Has that now been quietly dropped? Please, some official clarification is urgently needed.

"Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved."

This had better not be our policy! If Gordon Brown refuses to hold a referendum and the constitution is approved we should pledge to still hold that referendum and to be bound by the result.

I really do hope this isn't withdrawal from the EPP-ED all over again!

"Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved"

Editor I think we need some clarification on this quote quickley. This could be 'grammarsgate' all over again if the policy is now changed.

"Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved"

Surely this is a sensible approach to the matter - there is quite a big difference between not ratifying a treaty in thefirst place and withdrawing from it (is this possible without leaving the union?) after it has entered the statue book.

This is the danger for the Conservatives. The debate will have shifted in six months from being about whether we should adopt a Treaty to whether we should scrap it. What looks like a vote winner now will be more difficult by the summer. We mustn't put too many eggs into the Europe basket but proceed on many fronts against Labour.

By the time the election comes voters will have forgotten about the treaty and will be concerned more about schools, hospitals, environment, the economy. Only 4% of voters claim Europe is the key issue for them and they probably already support the Conservative Party or UKIP- it is not going to win an election going on about Europe. And still when asked why the Conservatives did not call referendums on SEA or TEU Cameron and Hague decline to answer the question. It is exactly the same reason that Brown does not call a referendum now as why Thatcher and Major did not call referendums then- because they were afraid that they would loose.

Frankly I don not understand why Brown does not call a referendum. It will do him no harm, he might even win it and it would taint the Conservatives with the Europe hating that caused so much damage to party unity and perception in the country as in the 1990s.

The Conservatives are certainly keeping quiet about what they'd do in Brown's situation. This was a watershed moment for European politics and will be hard to reverse. It makes the in-or-out debate about the EU even more crucial.


In 4 years’ time the choice will be withdrawal or continue the status quo. It will not be possible to dismantle this treaty after it has come into effect -- which is why it's so important to stop it coming into effect.

So, as of now, the Tory policy is that this treaty will lead of a massive transfer of power to the EU which they vehemently oppose, but if approved, hey ho, they'll forget their opposition to such a transfer and go along with it?

And you wonder why no-one trusts the Tories to protect our national interests?

If this is the case, if the Tories are going to go along with such a transfer they themselves highlight and oppose, then no-one will ever believe their 'repatriate powers from Brussels' claim ever again.

It would seem that the Tory call for a refernudum is as much of a red herring as Brown's red lines.

""Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved.""

Surely this is wrong? The obvious, and only, line to take here is that we would hold a referendum and then withdraw if the vote went against it.

Or am I being "delusional"?

I believe I am correct in saying that Cameron(in the Sun)has been contradicted by Hague (everywhere)on the Tory approach to a ratified treaty.Looks set for yet another Tory split if clarification is not forthcoming.

'In Europe,run by Europe and over-run'

I am offended that a Scot and a first generation Brit are selling us out whilst an African ,Hain and a half English McShane
are wheeled out on Question Time/Newsnight to defend the treachery.

This could be 'grammarsgate' all over again if the policy is now changed.

Please please please do not split over Europe again. It will finish the party. Not only that - you will make yourselves a laughing stock which will be exploited by every anti-conservative force in the country. I have been won round to the Conservatives by David Cameron and will never support Labour again. But I am dismayed that a few cautious words by William Hague on the Today programme, mindful of the way journalists set landmines ready to blow up at a future date, gets this kneejerk reaction. The discipline shown in the last few weeks must be maintained if the Conservatives are going to win the next election. Nigel Farage on the Today programme is already predicting that the Tories will be split from top to bottom over Europe. Please don't prove him right. Don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again.

Why is it so difficult to understand that the Prime Minister has secured his important four red lines?

Letters from a Tory @ 0924:

"The Conservatives are certainly keeping quiet about what they'd do in Brown's situation."

I don't know where you bury yourself, but the Tories are not remotely keeping quiet about what we would do in Brown's situation. We have said, quite clearly and repeatedly, that we would hold a referendum and would campaign for a 'no' vote in that referendum.

"By the time the election comes voters will have forgotten about the treaty and will be concerned more about schools, hospitals, environment, the economy. "

True, but they may not have forgotten a referendum defeat or any party splits (and there may still be Labour MPs who would campaign for a no).

Personally I'd like to see a referendum, but I can see why Brown isn't keen- he has an election to win and a referendum defeat and/or splits in his party could put that in jepordy.

FWIW I'm against more powers to the EU (and would proberbly vote no, but I can see why Brown is taking the line he is.

I am extremely interested in Louise's thoughts on this one. She reckons the UK parliament can repatriate powers if we 'insist' (thcweam). The policy of holding a referendum on the treaty should hold good therefore, shouldn't it?

I fear not. It would be too upsetting to our continental partners. As far as they are concerned the treaty is now out of sight, out of mind. It is on to the next stage of ever closer union, then the next.

Goodbye our self-determination. Hello political illegitmacy and stagnation. Shame really. This country used to be a beacon to the world. The Conservative Party continues to sell our birthright for a greasy pat on the back from ****ing Helmut. How sophisticated and modern of the suited political class. Count me out. Some of us are standing for freedom, while running companies and generally contributing at full throttle. Thanks for nothing Dave, William, and the whole flabby lot of you. Get a job.

Why do you not all just calm down. Cameron declared in his conference speech that the Conservatives would campaign for a NO vote if there was a referendum - therefore the Conservative leadership are not just demanding a referendum because it is a matter of trust, but also because they are against the treaty. The leadership need to show patience and accuracy in their attack, to ensure that if we lose the European argument, the party is not left isolated - otherwise we could end up with the Constitution and a Labour Government after the next election - and that would be a disaster.

Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved

There is some mischief- making being made with this comment. I listened to the interview on R4 this morning and what William clearly said was that we would be focussed on stopping the treaty being ratified in the first instance and secondly that our position was that we would offer a referendum on the treaty, our precise policy would depend on whether Brown reverses his decision re a referendum and whether ratification was complete by the next election etc this seems perefectly reasonable to me

Bear in mind that the issue here is not the "treaty" but the fact that it is a breach of trust/ breaking a clear manifesto pledge.

That is the element of this that is important to the wider public, not the specifics of the issue of the “treaty” itself. That is not to say that there is not widespread and deep-seated euroscepticism throughout a large majority of the electorate – just that this sentiment only exercises a minority and simply does not play a major role in shaping broader political attitudes.

The issue must be flagged up as it contributes to the broader narrative of Brown being an insincere and down right cowardly toe-rag! However it is an issue that must be handled deftly and cant be dwelled on in it’s minutia, the last thing that can be allowed to happen is the party revert (in the public’s and media’s eyes) to “banging on about Europe” – particularly as we as a party are significantly more united on the issue of Europe than either Labour or the LibDems.

So let us tackle this issue – But we cannot dwell on it and must attack it in the broadest sense, as part of the broader narrative.


Have you been mischief making?

The promise of a referendum was a sneaky hospital pass by Blair. Politically, it's bad and dangerous for Brown to avoid a referendum, but much worse if he did. People don't care about Europe, but do have an opinion on it, and these kind of referendums have a tendency to be a way of slapping the current regime in the face. A defeat on the the treaty would be disasterous for Brown.

I think current Tory policy is sensible. We can't renege on treaty obligations, but we can fight for the promised referendum in the mean time.

Ben, I agree that the issue of trust and Labour's promise of a referendum are paramount, but we absolutely must not lose sight of how dangerous a threat this constitution by another name is to our existence as a sovereign state. It really is almost the last chance we have of drawing back from losing our independence completely and becoming just another federal state.


It is ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that GORDON BROWN is nothing less than a QUISLING, aiding the IMPERIALIST EUROPEAN project.

It is ABUNDANTLY clear that now we have cleared the decks of any suggestion that we are xenophobes or racists, we can go back to building our fortunes on a sound policy on Europe and a firm line on migrants.

Anybody who thinks that anything less than TOTAL rejection of this treaty even to the extent of abrogating it afterwards will find Cameron 's lead in the polls gained in response to some proper Conservative policies at Blackpool vanishing as fast as it was gained.

This is a shameful day for Britain. Let us not make it a shameful day for the Tory party too.
Anyhow, the way things have just gone in Lisbon. it won`t matter what any of us say or think. Everything will be decided in Brussels.

I can't see much point in electing people to the English (British?) Provincial Council any more either. Let them pretend on their own.

However, as the opera is not over till the fat lady sings so nose to the grindstone and fight, Tories, FIGHT!

" these kind of referendums have a tendency to be a way of slapping the current regime in the face"

Thats what I'm worried about, and why it's perhaps not such a bad thing the referendum has been called off.

A referendum would be great if we could simply accept the result and move on (I'm quite eurosceptic, not because I'm a little Englander, but because the EU is big and remote) but the fear is that the newspapers would simply portary a 'No' vote as a defeat for Brown.

And be honest, if we had a referendum and got a 'no' vote, you Conservatives would seek to make capital out of it, wouldn't you? (just as I'm sure Smith/Blair would have done had Major lost a Maastricht referendum)

So you can hardly blame Brown for not holding a referendum.

Patriot, I agree it's just the manner in which the "treaty" is dealt with that concerns me.

Personally I think it’ll be a down right disgrace if the treaty goes through and expect it to encounter strong opposition from ourselves (minus KC of course) together with the more sensible elements of the LibDems and Labour, with the potential to cause Brown and his government great discomfort (a-la Maastricht).

But as I say my concern is that we focus not on the “European Federalist” element of the “treaty” so much as Labour and Brown’s breach of trust, that is not to say we cannot mention the former (we have to it, it the crux of our own far more relevant position on the issue) just that we must make sure that we are as balanced as possible in our approach… avoiding the trap Labour think they can set of casting us as “banging on about Europe”.

After reading Hague's negative and apparent back tracking remarks as uttered on the Today programme concerning a referendum (I was never persuaded that he together with Cameron was truly Eurosceptic) perhaps the question should be: Will the voters trust any politician?
Perhaps the gist of an article I read recently will come true: "People will come to see politicians as the enemy".

If what Hague has implied is true then it is more than likely that he will have done great damage to the Tories.
Having said that, I am sure that Cameron's appointment of Clarke to oversee Democracy will save us all!

It is time, actually well past time, for the Tory party to be honest about the issue of Europe. This issue permeates every area of policy there is no escape from it and nowhere to hide from it. The European Union institutions are those of an emerging state that is supreme over all its constituent, formerly independent, nations. This state of affairs, and our nation's membership of said state, has been undeniably achieved by deception. The stark choice is we are either in or out, there is no third way, and to assert such a third way is simply a lie. The Tory party is divided on this issue, a fact which Gordon Brown knows well and is exploiting to the full.

So there is s a decision to make, are we to be an independent self governing nation, or do we become a part of Jean Monnet's imperial vision? The latter is not sustainable. I submit that there is a limit to the sustainable size of human societies and that our nation state is already at that limit. As an aside federalism is a special case, would not be workable in the EU, and in any event that is not what is on offer here. A "non imperial empire" spread across multiple geographic boundaries with multiple languages, cultures, histories and economic cycles is simply not viable. It will inevitably sink. And like a large ship going down the passengers on it will be sucked into the depths as it goes.

The Tory party is totally complicit in this state of affairs. I would like to think that it can redeem itself, though that is a vain hope. It would save all of us so much trouble if the Tories could rediscover some actual principle. David Cameron could declare in favor of a referendum on continued membership of the European Union. Though to resile the "reform treaty" would have the same effect. No doubt someone will say: "but this is not a practical reality", or words to that effect. It will be yet another lie. Well I have had enough of lies, as I suspect have the nearly 40% of the electorate who no longer vote. And the same probably applies to the many who do vote, in desperation, against what they see as the worst of two evils. There is no demos on which the European Union can stand and no concept of a free people governed by consent. The European issue is a litmus test of whether the Tory party can actually be trusted on any other issue. They have had more than their fair share of "last chances" and if past performance is anything to go by they will fail this one as well.

"Mr Hague declined to say whether the Tories would reverse approval of the Treaty if it is approved"
There's an interesting video here which sums this up nicely:

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