Democratic choice - never!

Since the late Sir Edward Heath took Great Britain into the then Common Market, successive Conservative and Labour governments have ratified the treaties of Rome, Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon without a popular mandate to so do. Earlier pledges to hold a referendum were cynically disregarded by both parties.

The present coalition government is about to place a European union bill before parliament, but it will not be worth the paper it is printed on as the government will decide if a referendum needs to be held, if and when new EU treaties are proposed or amendments to existing EU treaties contemplated.

The last thing the two main parties want is to allow the public a democratic choice, now or in the future.

However, it is reported that a good number of Eurosceptic Tory MPs are to put down an amendment to the bill that would guarantee a referendum and the Labour opposition MPs would be told to vote for the change.

It remains to be seen if a spanner is about to be thrown into the works, but it is a sad reflection that, in opposition, both main parties talk about holding a referendum, but when they gain power it is a different story.

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David Owen,

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