Let's have a referendum on the EU Constitution on October 13th

Shadow Foreign Secretary Dr Liam Fox has written to Jack Straw demanding an end to the confusion over a UK referendum on the EU Constitution – and has proposed a 13th October date for the nationwide poll.


He threw down the gauntlet as senior Labour ministers appeared deeply divided on the issue, and reports suggested that Tony Blair is planning to dump plans for a referendum if the French and other member nations reject the constitution scheme in their own referenda this summer.

Mr Blair has promised to hold a UK referendum next year, but the situation has been thrown into doubt by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw warning of a problem if the French deliver a "No" vote in their referendum at the end of the month. His line was reinforced by former Europe Minister Denis MacShane who declared a vote unnecessary because the proposed EU treaty would be "dead" if the French rejected the constitution. However, his replacement as Europe Minister, Douglas Alexander, told the Commons that Britain would still hold a referendum come what may.

Calling on Downing Street to deliver immediate clarification, Dr Fox said the British referendum should still take place. He declared: "There should be a referendum in this country whatever happens elsewhere. The Government could take one simple step and name a date."

He explained: "There is nothing more important than Britain's future relationship with Europe and getting in right. We think the British people should be allowed to have a say. We think we should have a referendum on what is in the European constitution and have it as soon as possible."

And later, Dr Fox fired off a letter to the Foreign Secretary in which he said: “Events over recent days have highlighted a marked and alarming lack of clarity in the Government’s position on the forthcoming referendum on the European Constitution. In order to allay the British people’s justifiable disquiet about this chaotic state of affairs, it is essential for the Government to confirm now that there will be a referendum irrespective of what happens elsewhere, and at the same time to set the date for that referendum.”

Insisting that the British people have the right to express their views on the proposed constitution, Dr Fox added: “In order to end the confusion, the Government must set a date now for the referendum. Taking into account the parliamentary and party conference timetables, I believe the first available date would be 13 October 2005.”


story from: www.conservatives.com