Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Chris Huhne Targeted by Referendum Campaign

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 1st February, 2008

Voters in the LibDem marginal constituency of Eastleigh will be getting ballot papers through their doors soon, inviting them to respond to two questions: (1) Should the United Kingdom hold a referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty: yes or no?, and (2) Should the United Kingdom adopt the EU’s Lisbon Treaty: yes or no? The organiser of this activity is the ‘I Want a Referendum’ (IWAR) campaign, which is targeting 10 parliamentary seats whose Labour or LibDem MPs have small majorities, including David Heath in Somerset and Frome. As over half a million voters have the opportunity to take part, this is being billed by IWAR as the biggest British referendum on the future of Europe since 1975. The logistics are being organised by the Electoral Reform Society, an entirely kosher body. And it has even been endorsed by Chris Huhne’s fellow Hampshire MP, Mike Hancock.

This does not stop it being a fatuous and disruptive exercise, deliberately timed to provide embarassment for the government at a time when the House of Commons is debating the Lisbon Treaty. The official LibDem line, of course, is that if there is going to be referendum, then it ought to be on whether Britain stays in the EU or pulls out. But the Eurosceptics are frightened of that, because they know they would lose. Whereas with a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (subtly referred to as ‘the EU’s Lisbon Treaty’, you will have noticed, as if this is something being imposed on Britain by Johnny Foreigner), might well produce a negative result, given the furore in the Conservative Press. The fact that the vast  majority of the voters in Eastleigh and elsewhere who will take part in this mock referendum have not read the Lisbon Treaty, or even have a vague idea of actually what is in it, hardly validates it.

In the meantime, one crumb of comfort for people who are sick to death of Euro-sceptic rubbish being pushed down their throats: in a council by-election in Calne TC yesterday, UKIP lost a seat to the LibDems. Bravo!

One Response to “Chris Huhne Targeted by Referendum Campaign”

  1. […] posting placed him in the media spotlight after the Tories’ Derek Conway came a cropper. 9. Chris Huhne Targeted by Referendum Campaign on Jonathan Fryer’s blog. How Mike Hancock is helping stir it up for fellow Lib Dem MP Chris […]

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