Friday, February 15, 2008

David Heath to vote for referendum on Lisbon treaty

The BBC reports:
A Liberal Democrat MP has said he will defy his party's leadership - and risk his frontbench job - by voting for a referendum on the EU treaty.

Justice spokesman David Heath said he had told the party's chief whip he planned to vote against the party line.

It is now up to leader Nick Clegg to decide his future, he added.

Mr Clegg will order his MPs to vote against having a referendum on the treaty or to abstain - depending on the wording of a Conservative amendment.
On his own website David writes:
“I have for 30 years argued that the British people should have a clearer say on how the European Union is run, sometimes getting myself into trouble with my own party in the process.

"I argued for a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty when it was refused by the then Conservative government, and I was one of the leaders of the Vote 2004 campaign for a referendum on the proposed European Constitution. I haven’t changed my view.

“The best thing would be for a proper informed debate and a referendum on the real issue - whether Britain stays in or leaves the European Union. It’s staggering that no-one under the age of 50 in this country has had the opportunity to vote on such an important matter.

"A vote on the narrower issue of the Lisbon Treaty would be very much second best, but I intend to vote for it, as I promised, and I have warned my whips I will do so.
My own view, as I have argued here often enough, is that an "in or out" referendum would do nothing to give the British people "a clearer say on how the European Union is run". In fact it seems calculated to prevent what I suspect is the majority view in Britain - in favour of European co-operation but sceptical of "ever close union" - being expressed at all.

On a happier note, the photograps shows David with Dolly Parton, who was keen to discuss using her Imagination Library project to help Somerset children to read. Honest.

No comments: