Thursday, 13 March 2008

Commons vote against a referendum; battle moves to the Lords

Last week, MPs in the House of Commons voted against holding a national referendum on the revived EU Constitution. 311 MPs voted against a referendum, and 248 voted in favour.

29 Labour MPs defied their party line and voted for a referendum, as did 15 Liberal Democrat MPs. 50 Lib Dem MPs abstained in the vote, as instructed by leader Nick Clegg. 15 Labour MPs abstained, and 3 Conservative MPs voted against a referendum.

Please click here to find out how your MP voted:

The vote came just days after the I Want a Referendum campaign announced the results of its constituency referendum campaign, in which 150,000 people voted across ten constituencies. 88% were in favour of a referendum. Click here to see the results:

Two of the ten MPs whose constituencies were given a vote - Labour MP Paul Truswell in Pudsey, and Lib Dem David Heath in Somerton & Frome - did vote in favour of a referendum. David Heath even agreed to give up his frontbench job to vote for a referendum - along with two of his Lib Dem colleagues.

Pushing the Treaty through Parliament without a referendum lacks all legitimacy. The Government has failed to convince the public that the Lisbon Treaty is different to the rejected EU Constitution. A YouGov poll found that 94% of voters do not believe the Government's claim that it is different to the Constitution - on which a referendum was promised by all three parties.

The battle will now shift to the Lords where the parliamentary arithmetic is better for the prospect of a referendum.

The Government has no overall majority and has only a few more peers than the Conservatives. If the Conservatives combine with a significant number of crossbench peers, and Nick Clegg is able to make most Lib Dem peers follow their party line and abstain,
there is a reasonably good chance of the Lords calling for a referendum, especially given that the Commons debate has been widely seen as a farce.

Please click here for our new briefing on the Lords stage of the Lisbon Treaty ratification:

What you can do

1. Write to your local newspaper

The I Want a Referendum campaign is now turning its attention to the House of Lords.

The Government is hoping that it can forget about the Treaty, now that it has cleared the Commons. Its strategy relies not in attempting to persuade the public, but simply trying to play down the issue and move on. However, the parliamentary debate is likely to run until June, and the issue will continue to dog the Government.

We need your help to keep this important issue alive in the media and to help motivate the Lords by demonstrating the strength of national feeling on this issue. Now is not the time to give up, but to publicise the Government's dishonesty in voting against a referendum and encourage the House of Lords to take up the battle.

Please write a letter to your local newspaper. The two key things to mention are firstly, your disappointment at being let down by the Commons, and secondly, your hopes that the Lords will now do the right thing and press the Government for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. We must keep this issue in the media, maintaining the pressure on the Government.

To make life easier, we've found email addresses for the letters pages of some of the main regional newspapers around the country. Please click here to find a newspaper near you:

2. Encourage your friends to support the campaign

As before, please continue to urge your friends and family to sign up to our online petition for a referendum. You can do this quickly and easily by visiting our 'Send to a friend' page on the website:

Please also encourage them to write to their local newspapers.

A real big Hat Tip to Fyrdist

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi GA,
here's a link for two brilliant tv ads you need to grab for your blog. The ads need to get on to Young BNP too.