Monday, 25 February 2008

Clegg - Let the under-fifties have their say on Europe

Speaking this morning at the Liberal Democrats’ headquarters, Nick Clegg said:

"Tomorrow we will be putting to Parliament our proposal for an in-out referendum on Britain’s future in the EU.

"The debate over Britain’s future in Europe has been poisoned for too long by a Labour Party that refuses to make the case for it, and an opportunistic Tory Party that actively seeks to undermine it.

"We need to draw the poison from that debate - to settle the matter one way or another.

"So today I am inviting the Labour and Conservative parties to join with me in calling for the referendum that will settle Britain’s European future - once and for all.

"When the government promised a referendum on the European Constitution, they promised a vote on all the changes to Europe since Britain joined the EEC, brought together in one constitutional text.

"That was the right thing to do.

"It was a bond of trust.

"And we supported it.

"Because we believe that the British people should have a real choice on all the developments in the EU over the past 30 years...

"...The European Union has brought peace and prosperity to its members over the past 50 years.

"No-one under the age of fifty in this country has had a direct say on this issue. Not me, not David Milliband, not David Cameron.

"So I say it’s time for a national debate and a national decision.

"Gordon Brown cannot push the referendum genie back into the bottle.

"And it’s critical that the British people are allowed to vote on the real issue at stake.

"That’s what our proposal would deliver."

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