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"uncomfortable with voting with the Conservatives"

why can't people just vote for what is right, whoever has proposed it?

Whatever happens tonight the reputation of politicians for honesty and straight dealing will take a battering largely because of the behaviour of Labour and Lib Dem MPs.
Yes Clegg has been pathetic, his newsnight interview is awful to watch,but if lies are going to be told do it like an expert like Denis Macshane .
He was on Radio 5 this morning debating with George Pascore Watson.He asserted by taking a quote from Liam Fox of all people out of people that the Conservative party thought that the Lisbon treaty was different from the constitution.
Whatever your views on the EU a performance like that of Macshane does politics in this country no favours. He's a liar, a disgrace not only to his party,not only to his country, but as a man.

Ian Davidson MP is currently making an excellent speech in the Commons.

Ian Davidson is almost single-handedly destroying the 'Liberal Party' policy at the moment. Well-worth a viewing!

What a pity it won't be enough.

Democracy in the UK takes another step closer to the grave.

I have heard some considerable rot aired over the Lisbon Treaty, which supposedly is not a rehashed Constitution.
Gordon Brown promised a referendum at the last election. He has now reneged, claiming that the Treaty is not a constitution. This statement is at variance with those of other EU leaders, who claim it is the one and the same. Indeed, the author of the wretched constitution, some wretched failed French politician, Valery Giscard d'Estaing claims; that the Treaty is in fact the Constitution, dressed up with a few word changes, but is essentially the same document with the same end game, more power centralised to Brussels and national parliaments sidelined.
Against all that overwhelming evidence, I am at a lost to understand the continuing mendacity of some of our elected representatives who continue to deny the obvious and obfuscate the facts.
Clearly these people are terrified that the people will make a considered decision which will fly in the face of their choice. That as politicians they will face the continuing option of having to please the electorate and indeed do as we say. We are told that 80% of legislation passed at Westminster is EU derived, a not inconsiderable figure. This is hardly commensurate with the old mantra of, in Europe but not ruled by Europe, which has to be one of the worst pieces of meaningless drivel and tosh uttered by anyone.
If the United Kingdom is to yield its independence, if its Parliament is to be superseded and/or subsumed by a supra-national entity, then that decision has to be made by the people not by politicians. Politicians who have a vested interest in keeping their hands on the reins and levers of power and frankly, with this particular shower of corrupt piglets, I wouldn't trust them to sell Big Issues, without indulging in some grand fraud.
As for Clegg the Cleverst what a dip~stick!
Those at Westminster have no right and no mandate to give away this country and must be forced to hold a referendum. Failure will be counted as an act of treachery unseen in the annals of history.

Now Ken Clarke is speaking and has walked into the trap of allowing Labour to compare the Conservatives with dictators through use of referendums. He is frankly embarrassing and thank heavens that we don't have him as leader is all I can say.

He [Ken Clarke] is frankly embarrassing and thank heavens that we don't have him as leader is all I can say.

There speaks the self satisfied Europhobes who regard the EU as so important as to justify condemning the Conservative party to over a decade of opposition, maybe more if you loonies keep this up.

If Ken Clarke had been leader after 1997, then (a) the defeat in 2001 would have been nowhere near as bad, it would at least have marked a comeback of sorts, and (b) victory in 2005-6 might - just might - have been achieveable, Clarke's political skills and popular personality (in contrast to those of IDS and Howard) plus his correct opposition to the Iraq war might just have won through.

All the above assumes of course that the headbangers would have let him get on with the job - unlikely, as John Major could testify.

Ideological purity or power. The choice is yours. A lot of you seem to have spent the last 15 years preferring the former to the latter.

Yes, I am listening with amazement at Ken Clarke. Everyone knows his position on Europe, but his arrogance in this speech is breathtaking in its scope.
This man has done a great deal of damage to the Party in respect of Europe, and continues to do so. It is about time the constituency in Rushcliffe comes to its senses and deselects this man.
Ugh! I see that Kaufmann now speaks. Time to switch off.

[I]There speaks the self satisfied Europhobes who regard the EU as so important as to justify condemning the Conservative party to over a decade of opposition, maybe more if you loonies keep this up.[/I]

I simply don't agree. Ken Clarke is a raving Europhile who advocates integration far beyond even that provided by the Reform Treaty. The fact today is that we were promised a referendum on that same treaty (albeit under a different name and rebranded in order to make it more palatable to the 'Europhobes' that you suggest I am) and as a result, that is what we quite rightly expect. I am far from a Europhobe and in fact back some elements such as the expansion of locus standi for private applicants in actions for annulment at the ECJ. The sad thing is that this debate is being distorted towards an attack on our membership of the EU when it is the government's reneging on its promise of a referendum that gets to that heart of the matter and unfortunately will only serve to further undermine voters' mistrust of politicians in general.

I think these speeches are adding further weight to Louise Bagshawe's centre right piece about Parliamentry speeches being monoplised by the old guard. Everyone knows what Ken Clarke was going to say. Why did we have to listen to the tired repeat for the umpteenth time instead of someone who might have something new to bring to the debate.

The sad thing is that this debate is being distorted towards an attack on our membership of the EU

Yes, I agree. But there are elements in this party who want us out, and I'm fed up to the back teeth with them. I have described BOO on other discussion boards as the "secret agenda" only to have people coming back saying "it's not so secret". There are frankly frightening numbers of people on this site who quite openly despise the EU and want to see it dead and buried, and the fact that this is not Conservative party policy they seem to regard as our problem not theirs!

If you, like me, support our membership of the EU, let's rid the party of these people. They have another home - UKIP. But where are decent, EU-supporting Conservatives, who care about the whole range of domestic and foreign policies, to turn?

Feeling deeply uncomfortable being in the same party as Ken Clark. He is entitled to his view but not to advance it by insulting huge numbers of his fellow conservatives. His red faced, self satisfied arrogance is hard to take. Why does the leadership tolerate him when he is so far off message.

Good point Andrew (and Louise).Utterly appalled by Clarke's speech and bitterly regret working for his leadership campaign.
I was talking to an MP recently who told me the speaker has a problem remembering many members names. It's probably harder for him to remember the names of newer intakes so he calls those who's names he knows.

The most amusing show around, parliament at it's grubbiest, traitorous, dissembling worst trying to pretend some sort of rational consideration of whether we should hold a referendum, and to pretend that the Lisbon treaty is not the old referendum.How they all despise us, and rightly so.
The three main parties having promised a referendum, now say it A. is not the constitution, or B. is the business of parliament only or C. should be decided by an unwinnable referendum on "in or out of Europe". The Labour party have adopted total lying and cheating on all matters as their modus operandi, the Lib Dems have resorted to total delusion, and the Conservatives to smirking deceit. None of them have the slightest intention of letting the people have a referendum. My god what have we done to deserve this nightmare of a parliament? Sitting there dreaming of bigger allowances, calling in favours from contacts made while on government business, or of future bribes to come from Brussels. The political class has sold us all for their own advantage. Well, you voted them in, now you smile and enjoy it!

I wouldn't make calls like that if I were you Ephraim Gadsby. There are suspect thousands and thousands of decent Conservative members who are sick to the back teeth of people like you and would rather when politicians promised them a vote about an issue that they actually kept their word.

Everyone knows what Ken Clarke was going to say. Why did we have to listen to the tired repeat for the umpteenth time instead of someone who might have something new to bring to the debate.

Malcolm Dunn - you, and others, accused me just a few days ago of being anti-democratic because I disagree with using referendums in a parliamentary system.

Now you're agreeing with the idea that some people (presumably those you disagree with) shouldn't be allowed to speak on the basis that we already know what they're going to say.


Ephraim Gadsby, Ken Clarke can say what he likes (and so often does so). The point I was raising was how newer members are unable to get in on the debate and add fresh thinking.

IDS speaking now. Such a better speaker without the burden of leadership.

Ephraim Gadsby ( couldn't he have stolen a more sensible psuedonym?) clearly isn't a member of the conservative party and is saying these things to create a false debate and show how deided we are.

The vast majority of us support our leader's policy on a referendum on the treaty do we not? We are all united in our belief there should be a referendum, which is more than can be said of the labour party and the liberal democrats.

Ephriam, are you being stupid or are you deliberately seeking to misrepresent me? I merely gave a reason as to why the speaker continually called older members in debates.
Also it's you not me who is calling for people to be thrown out of the party. I'm curious to know if you're a member of the party and which constituency you're in.I doubt I'll get answer.

I loved IDS's line about getting splinters in your arse when you sit on the fence.

Looks like Labour struggled to get speakers for this debate. This woman from Morecombe is dreadful.

November 2004 - North East Regional Assembly Referendum, a YES vote massively backed by Labour and the Lib-Dems, with their respective leaders of that time having photographs together, eagerly promoting the vote.

Anyone familiar with the North East knew fine well nobody wanted the vote and a backlash was going to be forthcoming.

Despite the might of the government, some 78% said NO. It is said that nearly £15million was spent on organising this referendum.

The next day, government ministers claimed that because of the NO vote, local government re-organisation across the North East would not now take place - ALL ON RECORD. They were merely clarifying the rules of the referendum.

Fast forward a few years, the North East now faces, elections due this May, the removal of District Councils to be replaced by large county-sized unitary councils.

The District Council's club together and post a vote (on the removal of districts) to each household in County Durham - 76% said they are happy with the present set up.

So, we had a vote, actually we had two, and we voted NO...massively, yet the same government renages on its word and announces the changes and will railroad through the unitaries.

My point - check the Labour Party's manifesto, indeed the last few, they actually did want to see Unitary Councils right across England.

They have got their way, albeit in a completely underhand way regarding the Unitary Councils.

Simply match that to their performance regarding the EU Referendum - they do everything they can to get their own way.

I am sick to the back teeth of the same people that mock so-called democracies around the globe, yet can't see the damage they are inflicting on the whole political process across our own country.

Yeah, don't tell me, you know best.

I'm curious to know if you're a member of the party and which constituency you're in."

Don't expect to get the truth.

I hope Geraldine Smith's constituents in Morecambe are listening to her, and are suitably appalled. "The people are too stupid to understand the Lisbon Treaty" seems to be one of her main themes. Quite astonishing - even comical.

Not that I need to rise to this but anyway.... Malcolm, I am not currently a member no. I was active in Warrington back in the days when Mark Carlisle was our MP. Things have gone downhill in all sorts of ways since then. So I'm lapsed. Doesn't alter my question though - where are mainstream Conservative voters to go?

I loved IDS's line about getting splinters in your arse when you sit on the fence.

Lloyd George's line about Sir John Simon is better: "He has sat on the fence so long, the iron has entered his soul".

I can't believe the drivel that Geradine Smith came out with, did she really basically try and say that the governments stance on this was okay because both her and her colleagues constituents just did not care?

Ephraim, so you're not a member of the party and were last active more than 20 years ago (Carlisle retired in 1987) and you seek to give advice to the Conservative party in 2008? Forgive me if I don't take it too seriously.

I found Malcolm Bruce's perception of the views from the North East of Scotland fascinating, not to worry the SNP will be joining the Conservatives in voting for a referendum tonight.

This issue and the question of national sovereignty goes beyond politics. It is good to see Labour politicians holding the Labour government to account over a key manifesto pledge.

Which of these London MPs will betray their election promises?

The Liberal Democrat Party, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party all promised to have a referendum on the constitution in their last general election manifestos. According to two parliamentary select committees (dominated by Labour and the Liberal Democrats), the Lisbon Treaty is substantially the same as the old constitution.

Today, only the Conservative Party is offering a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Tonight, the House of Commons will vote on whether or not to hold a referendum. Wh ich MPs will defy their Whip and vote for the referendum they promised? In London, we will closely follow the votes of the following MPs who were elected under the promise of a referendum:

Lib Dem

Paul Burstow MP Sutton & Cheam
Vincent Cable MP Twickenham
Edward Davey MP Kingston & Surbiton
Simon Hughes MP Southwark North & Bermondsey
Susan Kramer MP Richmond Park
Sarah Teather MP Brent East


Diane Abbott MP Hackney North and Stoke Newington
John Austin MP Erith and Thamesmead
Lyn Brown MP West Ham
Karen Buck MP Regent’s Park and Kensington North
Dawn Butler MP Brent South
Harry Cohen MP Leyton and Wanstead
Jeremy Corbyn MP Islington North
Jon Cruddas MP Dagenham
Andrew Dismore MP Hendon
Frank Dobson MP Holborn & St Pancras
Jim Dowd MP Lewisham West
Clive Efford MP Eltham
Jim Fitzpatrick MP Poplar & Canning Tonw
Mike Gapes MP Ilford South
Barry Gardiner MP Brent North
Neil Gerrard MP Walthamstow
Harriet Harman MP Camberwill & Peckham
Keith Hill MP Streatham
Meg Hillier MP Hackney South and Shoreditch
Margaret Hodge MP Barking
Kate Hoey MP Vauxhall
Glenda Jackson MP Hampstead & Highgate
Tessa Jowell MP Dulwich & West Norwood
Alan Keen MP Feltham & Heston
Ann Keen MP Brentford & Isleworth
Sadiq Khan MP Tooting
David Lammy MP Tottenham
Martin Linton MP Battersea
Andy Love MP Edmonton
Siobhain McDonagh MP Mitcham & Morden
John McDonnell MP Hayes & Harlington
Tony McNulty MP Harrow East
Stephen Pound MP Ealing North
Bridget Prentice MP Lewisham East
Nick Raynsford MP Greenwich & woolwich
Joan Ruddock MP Lewisham Deptford
Joan Ryan MP Enfield North
Virendra Sharma MP Ealing Southall
Andrew Slaughter MP Ealing Acton & Shepherd’s Bush
Gareth Thomas MP Harrow West
Emily Thornberry MP Islington South and Finsbury North
Stephen Timms MP East Ham
Rudi Vis MP Finchley & Golders Green
Malcolm Wicks MP Croydon North

I am dreaming of the long long queues of new Conservative London MPs after the next general election...

To clarify the 2005 manifesto pledges, as Ive said before, the pledges by the main parties were specifically on the European Constitution and not any other Treaty. The pledges were pretty clear on it. Either all three parties have broken them or the pledges no longer apply. The pledge isnt transferable.

I expect the same quotes by the EU leaders etc to be thrown at me for it but Ive already addressed that point before as well...

James, that argument doesn't convince even 1% of the population. It's the sort of argument that causes politicians to be viewed in the same light as timeshare salesmen.

Tories- "We oppose the EU Constitution and would give the British people the chance to reject its provisions in a referendum within six months of the General Election."

Labour- "The new
Constitutional Treaty...It is a good treaty for Britain and for the new Europe. We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a ‘Yes’ vote to keep Britain a leading nation in Europe."

Lib Dems-"We are therefore clear in our support for the constitution, which we believe is in Britain’s interest – but ratification must be subject to a referendum of the British people."

All three parties promised referenda on the EU Constitution and nothing else. Its clear in the manifesto commitments. I noted yesterday that the Tories have changed policy under Cameron to allow for further referenda but the pledge cannot be treated as retrospective.

Has 1% of the population been asked about whether that argument is convincing or this a case of you projecting your views on the public? You may not be convinced and thats your perogative but your counter argument doesnt exactly refute the initial position.

Furthermore, politicians are mistreated for far more serious things than the applicability of a single manifesto pledge on an issue that polls find only about 2% prioritise above all others...

James, here's Kenneth Clarke, in today's debate, addressing David Milliband

"Will you stop all this nonsense about it being different from the constitution, because it is plainly the same in substance, and explain why it is better not to have a referendum but have it decided in parliament. You are getting into trouble because of the deviousness and, at times, ridiculousness, of the arguments you are using. "

I could quote the House of Commons Select Committe Report or loads of European leaders confirming that this is essentially the same document, but I'm sure you've read all those quotes.

I was under the impression that you were a eurosceptic, so I can't understand why you're so keen to accept the government's spin on this.

This whole charade about whether or not there was a promise to hold a referendum,(which there clearly was; if good faith applied to politicians) has been a brilliant smoke and mirrors distraction from the real issue of whether the proposed Con/Treaty would, or would not, be in Britain's best interests.
There was, of course, a deliberate EU strategy to render any meaningful, or democratic discussion of this, impossible in any of the national legislatures of any of the member states, since there was no option to propose any amendments, and the whole "Treaty" was presented upon a "take it leave it" basis.
Obviously therefore, Brown's promises that there would be an intensive 'line by line' Parliamentary debate, even though these were also dishonoured, were, as he well knew, totally meaningless, since Parliament was, in fact, being presented with a fait accompli. Nor would any such obstruction as Referendums or any other popular opposition be tolerated by the, would be, EU supreme authority.
This alone, gives serious concern about whether we should allow our present, seriously discredited, Government to decide, without any public consultation, whether such a treaty would genuinely be in the national interest.

As a Tory, I have huge respect for this "Gang of Four".

Kenneth Clarke as I recall amongst a few others decided to vote against the Conservative line on the referendum... I thought most eurosceptics switched off when Clarke talks about a referendum on the Treaty.

Ive seen all the quotes before, some of them prove my point. Essentially the same, substantially the same, it doesnt mean the same. They are not identical texts.

I supported the calls for a referendum but using the manifesto pledges as a reason for it isnt good enough since it isnt the Constitution in front of Parliament. I remember someone asked if it would matter if only one word was different from it. My answer is yes. Its a legal text, where a change of word can often make a lot of difference. Lets not forget the anger about the adjusting of the phrasing regarding the market. Only a few words were removed and the whole sentence changed. The European Scrutiny Committee spent a long time questioning Ministers about the use of the tern "shall" in the Treaty and whether it infers an obligation on Member States.

the line of argument that would work better is to say what the Treaty would do that is wrong to Britain's interests. Constantly refering to the Constitution is a moot point because its not the Constitution in front of Parliament.

Clegg is proving even worse than I dared hope.

It's obvious Clegg proposed this in or out of Europe referendum to see if it would split the other parties, mainly the Tories. It hasn't, and he should have known it wouldn't. Instead, it's backfired on him.

Where are the "true" "Conservative" trolls who loved talking the Lib Dems up?

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