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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Lloyd welcomes public backing for Liberal Democrat Europe referendum campaign

March 4, 2008 12:00 AM

Stephen LloydLocal Liberal Democrats in Eastbourne are stepping up their call for a referendum on whether the UK should be in or out of the European Union. This follows the publication on Monday of a new opinion poll by Ipsos-MORI showing people strongly prefer the Liberal Democrat call for a referendum on membership of the European Union, rather than the Conservative proposal for a referendum only on the Lisbon Treaty.

Commenting on the poll, Stephen Lloyd said,

"This opinion poll shows huge support for the Liberal Democrat view that people should be given a real say on the big issue of British membership of the EU. People clearly reject the narrow vote that the Conservatives are offering.

"I hope Nigel Waterson, will look at the results of this poll and rethink his position. It's still not too late for him to change his mind and join our campaign to give people in Eastbourne the real choice on Europe that they want.

"Anyone who is below the age of 51 has not had a vote on the UK being in or out of Europe. Since the last referendum held over a generation ago, the Europe we joined has changed enormously. The British people, however, have not been given a chance to vote on these changes.

"So far Labour and the Conservatives have colluded to prevent the real referendum on Europe taking place. The Tories are proposing a vote on the specific details of the Lisbon Treaty. The Government is terrified of an open debate on the real issue and wants no referendum at all.

"It's time for the Westminster establishment to stop being so cowardly over Europe and have an open debate with the country. The Liberal Democrats would relish the opportunity to put the case to the British people for our wholehearted commitment to the EU."

The opinion poll, which was carried out by the independent polling organisation Ipsos-MORI, showed that 54% of the public favoured a referendum on EU membership, 27% were against a referendum and 19% did not express an opinion. When those who gave an opinion about what sort of referendum they want are included, 58% back a referendum on EU membership (the Liberal Democrat proposal) against 28% who favour a referendum only on the Lisbon Treaty (the Conservative proposal).