Broken promise on Referendum - Worcester Standard

Worcestershire is getting a referendum on the controversial Lisbon treaty. That's the good news. Sadly, the private organisers can only afford to hold it in Redditch.

The government is trying to wriggle out of its solemn promise to hold a proper national referendum. As it tries to justify itself, its supporters seek to describe people like me who think that promises should be kept as head-banging, goggle-eyed lunatics. They are wrong to resort to abuse and misrepresentation.

Make no mistake, the Lisbon Treaty is simply a reworked version of the failed EU Constitution which rightly caused such a furore several years ago. The Government supports the Treaty, and is pushing it through Parliament in a scandalously unsatisfactory way.

I am bitterly disappointed on two levels: the British people are not getting the choice they deserve and expected, and the Government's decision not to hold a referendum is a matter of broken trust.

Both the major parties, in their manifestos, promised a referendum on the EU Constitution. Just because the document has been renamed and modestly re-jigged, it doesn't mean the government can break its word.

They can't have their cake and eat it. On the one hand, they tell us it isn't a hugely significant Treaty and that little will change in practical terms. On the other, they warn us that failure to ratify the Treaty will have devastating and lasting consequences for the UK.

If the Government believe so whole-heartedly in this Treaty, they should be embracing a referendum - a national debate on this topic is long overdue. The only reason we aren't getting one is because the Government fears it might lose. The people of Redditch will have to speak for all of us.

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