Monday, 24 June 2013

Stop whining Tories -It's Your Policy

Local Tories have asserted that Liberal Democrats have changed our policy on an in-out referendum. So let’s look at the facts the Liberal Democrat position in 2008 (when our MPs walked out the Commons after being refused a debate on an in-out referendum) was that we wanted a referendum to decide whether the UK should stay in the EU in the light of the Lisbon Treaty. The Conservative position was that a referendum should decide the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty itself. The 2010 manifesto said: “Liberal Democrats … remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU – so no change there; the manifesto still committed us to an in-out referendum; however because the Lisbon Treaty had already been ratified by 2010, the Conservative referendum had become impossible, but the Liberal Democrat referendum was still entirely possible. The European Union Act 2011 says that when there is fundamental change in the EU-UK relationship there must be a referendum about such changes themselves – not an IN/OUT referendum as per the Liberal Democrat manifesto. So what happened? It’s very easy to explain the Coalition Agreement says: ”We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that treaty – a ‘referendum lock’.” No mention there of any in-out referendum. The Coalition Agreement adopted the Conservatives’ position lock, stock and barrel. We need to ask the Conservatives why they are attacking Liberal Democrats for standing by a the Coalition Agreement which on EU referenda accepted Conservative policy, not Liberal Democrat.

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