Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The capacity to surprise

If the Tories are serious about capturing the Eurosceptic vote, they are going the right way about it. That much can be said for William Hague's surprise announcement in a speech at today's session of the Party conference.

Confirmed on the Conservative website, he has promised that the next Conservative government would amend the 1972 European Communities Act, so that any future agreements that transferred powers from Britain to the EU would require a national poll.

"And so, as we campaign for a referendum the people of our country are solemnly promised, we are fighting not only for them to have their say now, but for them always to have their say,” he says. "Never again could a government sign away powers to the EU without the British people's permission in a referendum".

This was in between attacking Brown for his "deceit" over the current "reform" treaty, when he declared that, "If this [Labour] government has its way, the new EU treaty, which almost every EU leader admits is in all essentials nothing less than the old, rejected EU constitution by another name, [will be] passed into law...", then adding:

The attempt to portray this treaty as fundamentally different from the EU constitution, when 240 of the 250 provisions are exactly the same, is one of the most bare-faced and deliberate misrepresentations in the modern annals of political deceit.
Meanwhile, The Sun continues its own campaign, claiming that "an astonishing 100,000 Sun readers are demanding a referendum on the rejigged EU Constitution." Almost 70,000 have backed a referendum in a special phone poll, it says, while more than 20,000 have signed our online petition. Another 10,000 have filled in coupons urging Gordon Brown to keep his promise of a vote on the "new" EU Treaty.

All this is looking good but, as The Huntsman reports, the Tories still also have the capacity to make the wrong moves, while England Expects is less than happy with the speech.

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