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The Lisbon Treaty

Plenary Speech - Wednesday, 6th May 2009

Mr. President

I am sorry that Mr. Poettering is not in the Chair tonight, as I had hoped to thank him publicly for giving me the opportunity to leave the EPP group a few years back. I am delighted that my Conservative colleagues will all be leaving the EPP shortly -- an objective I have worked towards for ten years.

We are here to debate the Lisbon Treaty, so I would also have reminded Mr. Poettering that his own country, Germany, has not yet ratified.

We in the EU claim to be a Union of Values based on Democracy and the Rule of Law. Yet we ignore democracy. We ride roughshod over the wishes of voters. We rejected the results of referenda in Denmark on Maastricht, in Ireland on Nice, in France & Holland on the Constitution, and now on Lisbon in Ireland again. We treat the aspirations of our electorates with outright contempt. So much for democracy.

We are no better on the Rule of Law. We are implementing plans and spending based on the Lisbon Treaty ahead of ratification. This is little less than a bloodless coup d'état.

Mr. Poettering says that a million Irish voters cannot stand in the way of 450 million European citizens. He is right. So let the 450 million vote on the Treaty! Britain will vote No. In all probability France and Germany will vote No. But you dare not let the people vote, because you know the answer already.

In Britain, all but eight of our 646 MPs were elected on a commitment to a referendum, yet our discredited Labour government has scandalously broken its promise.

Let me give colleagues due notice. We in the British Conservative Party will make a Lisbon Referendum a key plank of our euro-election platform. We will deliver a referendum, and we will kill this shameful Treaty stone dead.