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Clegg calls for Euro referendum


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Democrat leader Nick Clegg wants Britain to be able to decide its future in Europe.


He said he believes the time has now come for a referendum on whether the country should stay in the EU.


Mr Clegg said politicians had "all gone crazy" over Europe and had been "trading blows" in a way that distracted attention from the real debate.


He complained that pro-Europeans such as himself are accused of being "sell-outs" while Eurosceptics are branded "headbangers".


"We've all gone crazy. Pro and anti, Europhile and Eurosceptic, trading blows about the Lisbon treaty in grand rhetoric that obscures the facts," he said.


"It is time for a debate politicians have been too cowardly to hold for 30 years - time for a referendum on the big question. Do we want to be in or out?


"Nobody in this country under the age of 51 has ever been asked that simple question. That includes half of all MPs. We've been signed up to Europe by default: two generations who have never had their say."


Mr Clegg, himself a former Euro-MP will this week table an amendment in Parliament to the Lisbon treaty bill demanding an "in or out" referendum.



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I totally agree

This country wants and need areferendum to prevent the introduction of more and more stupid directives from the gnomes and incompetents of Brussels.

Having cars to have lights on all the time is yet another stupid idea that had been adopted by a stupid minister of transport without due care and responsibility Europe sucks. Lets get out of this corrupt quango

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I am Pro European 8)


I am not apposed to a referendum, but I would want a fair debate and with the British press as it stands we would not get that. Most of the press is anti European and sadly people tend to believe what they read Daily Mail for example, How would you get a fair debate.


Debates should be won by presenting facts not who shouts the loudest or who controls the press.


The EU has done alot of good for the UK, Sadly people get the headlines in the papers that they are messing with our bananas ect, and sadly people believe it.

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A Daily Mail reader :sleeping:


I must presume that you like democracy even if you read the Mail,what are you afraid of, is it that your view in the whole of Europe will be a minority view, is it the loss of power,for corruption you need look no further than are own Parliament the way Mps of all parties are fiddling their expenses,Europe is a long way from being perfect change takes time,better in than out.

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And here's me thinking you would assail me with FACTS in support of your view. :roll: Instead we start with the totally blind assumption that I'm a Daily Mail Reader - far from it - I don't even read papers, but get my news from ceefax/teletext; are you saying the TV Channels are rabid Europhobes?! :roll: And to come up with the limp arguement that because OUR Government is now as corrupt as the Brussels regime, somehow makes Euro corruption OK, is an astounding line of debate - sorry, but two wrongs don't make a right. :roll: I would at least have expected some boasting about all the new transport infrastructure that has gone into places like Spain, Portgal and Italy: and the massive funding of the economy of Eire - all achieved WITH OUR MONEY! :o Then we have Maggie's great Mastricht victory, where she won for us the rebate, but sold out our national fishing rights to get it. :o Or perhaps you could explain the ?millions doled out to S/Italy to rescue them from poverty, only to find it's way into the hands of contractors run by the mafia? :o Of course those receipients of our generosity have been dumped in favour of filling the E/European begging bowl with Objective I funding. :o Debate on the EU :confused: - yer having a laugh!

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Today's Times:


Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, may be about to make parliamentary history by ordering his colleagues ? on pain of political torture, or worse ? not to vote at all.


Next week, after months of legal argument and political squabbling, Parliament will vote on whether the Lisbon treaty should be put to a referendum. However, Lib Dems have been told to stay away from both the Aye and No lobbies, with members of the front bench being threatened with dismissal if they do not comply.


One disgruntled party MP told The Times: ?It must be the first time in history that there has been a three-line whip telling MPs to abstain.?


Despite the unusual vigour with which Liberal Democrats are being ordered to sit on the fence, Mr Clegg still faces his first serious Commons rebellion, with party insiders predicting that up to 15 MPs may break ranks and support a referendum. Several of the party?s frontbench spokesmen are among the potential rebels, with three of the firmest supporters of a referendum ? David Heath, Alistair Carmichael and Tim Farron ? sitting in the Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet.


There is scepticism within the party over whether Mr Clegg will risk a confrontation, given the party?s manifesto commitment at the 2005 general election to put Europe?s previous constitution to a popular vote.


Another Lib Dem asked: ?How can you be sacked for voting in favour of your party?s election manifesto??


The question of how Britain?s most fervently pro-European party got itself into such a tangle may puzzle outsiders; supporters of Mr Clegg say that the blame lies not with him but with Charles Kennedy, his predecessor-but-one. It was Mr Kennedy who allowed himself to be pushed into agreeing to support a referendum on the old European constitution, giving the Lib Dems a manifesto commitment identical to that held by Labour.


Sir Menzies Campbell, his successor, later claimed that the new Lisbon treaty was sufficiently different to make a referendum unnecessary. He called for a wider referendum on Britain?s membership of the EU, an issue on which the Lib Dems were prevented from forcing a Commons vote on Tuesday.


The Deputy Speaker?s decision not to call the Lib Dem amendment prompted protests that led to Ed Davey, the party?s foreign affairs spokesman, being barred from the Commons for the day.


Mr Clegg?s spokeswoman confirmed that Lib Dem MPs were on a three-line whip to abstain. ?It is important in the sense that we are trying to make a point about what we feel the referendum should be about,? she said. ?If people don?t follow the party line they are pretty well aware of what the consequences could be.?

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