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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Denial of referendum on Europe an outrage says Lloyd

February 26, 2008 12:00 AM

Stephen LloydA decision by the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse to have a debate this week and vote on a Liberal Democrat amendment calling for a referendum on whether to be in or out of Europe has met with an angry response from Liberal Democrats in Eastbourne.

"This is an appalling decision," said Stephen Lloyd, Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner. "To deny Parliament the chance to vote on our proposal to allow the public to have a real say on Britain's membership of the European Union is an outrage.

"In the last referendum over 30 years ago, people voted to be in a very different Europe from what we have now. There have, rightly, been many important changes as the European Union has developed and grown in size. But the British people have not had the opportunity to vote on those changes.

"Because of the Speaker's decision, they will be denied the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to stay in the EU.

"Labour and the Conservatives have colluded to prevent the real referendum on Europe taking place. The Conservatives are proposing a vote on the narrow issue of the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile, as the events in the Commons show, the Labour Party is terrified of an open debate on the real issue.

"It's time for the Westminster establishment to stop being so cowardly over Europe and have an open debate with the country. Liberal Democrats will be proud to lead the case for British membership of the EU."

Stephen Lloyd is encouraging people to sign the petition calling for a real choice on Europe. The petition is online at http://ourcampaign.org.uk/europe.