Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Nick Clegg on Dissent on Europe on Today

Nick Clegg has just been interviewed on Today, you can listen again here. In response to an interview with Sandra Gidley, who will be voting in favour of a referendum because that is what her constituents expect, Nick said "Not a single Lib Dem MP committed to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, it was on the Constitution" his view was that since the Constitution gathered together all pre existing treaties if it was rejected there would be nothing to cling to. The Lisbon Treaty however is just a series of amendments and the referendum would not deal with the fundamentals of the Constitution. Yes, Nick. However, the fact is that despite the Constitution having been rejected, there is everything to cling to, we still have all the original treaties, they never fell when the Constitution fell, did they? So given they are all still in place it is a fact that the Lisbon Treaty, if accepted, will have 95% of the original intention of the Constitution. Regardless of my own view on Europe, the fact is, as I have said before, I think we are being disingenuous with our current argument against a referendum on Lisbon.

It seems to me that we are tying ourselves in knots. There is talk this morning that there may be a "question and a half" amendment today which would have an add on for an in/out question. This would be a good compromise, I trust, if it emerges, our parliamentary party will see it as such.

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