Stanley's blog

Andrew Marr’s interview of David Cameron on the BBC’s AM today was disappointing on Europe. Marr tried to persuade the Conservative leader and likely next British prime minister to say what he would do if the Lisbon Treaty is fully ratified before the general election.

Cameron refused to answer this question, saying that it would be wrong to say anything while discussion is taking place in Poland and the Czech Republic. But the interviewer did not point out that the parliaments of both countries have ratified the Treaty and only the obstinacy of the two presidents stand in the way. In fact, only Klaus, because the Polish president said that he would sign if the Irish voted ‘yes’.

The refusal to answer is understandable. A referendum on the Treaty would be pointless. Cameron talked about negotiating the repatriation of some powers (eg labour and employment, justice and home affairs) and a looser association between nation states: both objectives are however unachievable.

The only rational and honest course to follow is to use the new right given by the Lisbon Treaty to withdraw from the Union and hold a referendum on whether this should happen.

My guess is that the Tory leader hopes that the Treaty will be ratified before the election; otherwise Europe will dominate the government’s agenda for most of its term in office.

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