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Monday, January 31, 2011

From the horse's mouth: EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty are the same

The past month’s debates in the Commons over the EU Bill have once again revived the thorny issue of the Lisbon Treaty and its abandoned twin the EU Constitution. Many members of Parliament still talk bitterly of the referendum that never came. Let's re-cap: the previous Labour government denied the British people a say on the Lisbon Treaty despite promising one in its election manifesto, it's sole argument being that the Treaty differed from the EU Constitution (despite almost all other EU leaders arguing that it was the same and the similarities becoming patently obvious when reading both side by side).

Of course, some MPs still defend the Lisbon Treaty with fervour, like Former Europe Minister and Labour MP Chris Bryant for example - for good reason often described as 'permanently outraged'. Last week in the Commons he went on his usual rant against anyone and anything that happens to favour EU and democracy reforms. This time, however, he completely slipped up and admitted what we all already know:
Referendums in different countries operate in different ways. I think that I have heard the Minister say on a couple of occasions both here and elsewhere that there was never a referendum that supported the Lisbon treaty. That is completely untrue, as the Spaniards were the first to hold a referendum and it had an 83% or 84% yes vote, so he is wrong about that.

As we know, in Spain there was only a referendum on the EU Constitution in 2005, and never on the Lisbon Treaty. Bryant is in effect admitting that the two are the same thing - a bit of a political faux pas for someone who was Europe Minister in the very same government that denied the electorate a referendum (though, to be fair to Bryant, he joined the government when the action on Lisbon was largely over - Labour saw through a record 12 Europe Ministers in 13 years).

Bryant’s candid admission is certainly not shared with his colleagues. Amazingly, the Labour front bench still insists that the two are different. Just one day earlier in the Commons, Shadow Europe Minister Wayne David argued:
It is pretty obvious to anybody who has given the matter any detailed study that there is a fundamental difference between a proposed constitution on the European Union and the treaty of Lisbon.
Please Mr. David and colleagues, give up on this one. You broke a manifesto promise, deal with it.

This debate is over.


John E. Payne said...

Our Mr Hague stated at the time Parliament voted on a referendum before accepting the Lisbon Treaty, and he agreed with the view quoted as: "the aim of the (Lisbon) Treaty is for it to be unreadable”. He also stated to Parliament the Treaty gave away too much British Sovereignty. 248 Conservative MPs voted they wanted a referendum on a Treaty, which they claim was unreadable and gave away too much Sovereignty. Now the Conservatives are protecting that same Treaty. Wake up Mr Cameron, that is not the way to protect our Sovereignty.

Anonymous said...

You do not give away too much sovereignty - you either ARE a sovereign country or you are NOT. WE ARE NOT ! Those in Westminster have give away OUR SOVEREIGNTY - end of story. It was NOT theirs to give, it was OURS. How much more dishonest and corrupt can they be?

Mike Hutchinson said...

Considering that we have been so badly sold down the river it is quite astonishing that Peter Bone's recent proposed amendment to the EU Bill for a referendum now on EU in/out, was rejected by 295 to 26. It is quite apparent that the vast majority of MPs fear the majority of the popluation who might vote "out". If that were the decision of the People then the People clearly would be prepared for a sink or swim policy in light of the huge savings made by stopping the drain into EU coffers and the return of our sovereignty.