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British Ministers on the Defensive

Posted by Richard Monday, April 26, 2004

Source: Agence France Presse

Jack Straw has defended Blair’s decision to hold a referendum on the EU constitution, telling his EU counterparts in Luxembourg: "It's for each country to make its own decisions about how constitutional changes are ratified."

Europe Minister Denis McShane claimed that he was confident the referendum, seen as a huge political gamble, would ultimately pay off. "It will allow us to have a debate based on facts not myths. It will allow everybody who is in favour of Britain being strongly in Europe to come together," he said.

The referendum would "encourage everybody finally to make the case for Britain being in Europe... and defeat the isolationist, anti-European xenophobes and the prejudice and the myths of the anti-European forces. "I'm confident that the British people will not vote to isolate themselves from Europe," he added.