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Denial of referendum on Europe an outrage say Liberal Democrats

February 27, 2008 5:47 PM

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has responded to the decision by the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse to have a debate and vote on a Liberal Democrat amendment calling for a referendum on whether to be in or out of Europe.

Clegg said:

"To deny Parliament the chance to vote on our proposal to allow the public to have a real say on Britain's membership of the European Union is an outrage. To allow a vote on a restrictive Treaty referendum but deny one on the real issue of our membership of the EU is absurd. It is like allowing the British public to choose their mode of travel without asking whether they actually want to continue on the journey at all.'

"Both Labour and the Conservatives have colluded to keep this entire debate focused away from the fundamental issue of whether we want to be in or out of Europe. The Labour Party is terrified of an open debate, whilst David Cameron's Conservatives are focusing on the sideshow of a referendum on the technical details of the Lisbon Treaty.'

"It's time for the Westminster establishment to stop being so cowardly over Europe and have an open debate with the country. I will be proud to lead the Liberal Democrats in arguing the case for our membership of the EU."