Sir - You report (June 29) that the Europe Minister of Portugal, which holds the EU presidency, alleged that "the new British Prime Minister is bound by the mandate agreed by Mr Blair last week". This claim must be rebutted. The European Council mandate for the treaty is not legally binding on member states, nor does it have the legal authority to enforce the mandate on the Council of Ministers, the national parliaments or the electors of the member nations.Useful stuff, if somewhat long-winded (although shorter than some of our pieces). The problem is that the "deceit" - and that it is - is firmly rooted in the media. It is going to take some shifting.
Article 48 of the Treaty of the European Union confers power only to call "a conference of representatives of the governments of the member states" to determine amendments to the treaties and cannot legally bind them in advance. Last week's summit was not such a conference, although one has now been called.
If the European Council had the authority the Portuguese Europe Minister alleges, it would override Ireland's constitutional requirements to hold national referendums on European treaties, it would override the veto, and it would override the treaty requirements for ratification according to the constitutional requirements of each member state and would effectively prevent any country from holding and endorsing the outcome of a national referendum.
Political leaders must unite to make this clear to the British and European people and repudiate any "secret" document signed by Tony Blair endorsing this unlawful mandate, before the deceit takes root in the public mind.
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By the way, the petition on the referendum is beginning to edge towards respectability, with 6,324 signatures, at the time of writing. If you haven't yet signed it, now would be a good time.