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Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Quotes of the Day

TONY BLAIR HAS declared himself ready to sign up to an EU Constitution that brings an end to Britain as a sovereign nation. This is not just my judgement, but the judgement of Germany's highest court, which noted that the new constitution for EU member states would end her country - and all other signatory nations - as sovereign and independent countries with the right to govern themselves. As the Telegraph puts it, the new draft "doubles the powers of the European Parliament, puts the European Commission in charge of the vast fields of justice and home affairs, and turns the European Court into a fully fledged supreme court with powers to rule in most areas of national life". It also brings an end to national independence in forty more areas of policy, including energy, asylum and immigration, criminal procedures, tax fraud, and some areas of social security and foreign policy.

Now you don't have to support our nation's right to govern itself to think that this "fundamental" (Blair's word) change in our constitutional status should be subject to the approval of the people of this country in a referendum. You just have to believe in democracy. Even though none of the members of the eurozone had a referendum on whether they should scrap their currencies, ten of the countries whose governments plan to sign up to this constitution have already announced plans for a referendum. Sadly, our indifferent Prime Minister shows no signs of giving way on this issue. So the quotes of today are from the various quarters commenting on the significance of this decision and how essential it is the British people have a say on what will if passed be a new constitution for this country.

"This White Paper is a white flag, a complete surrender to a European superstate. The British people know that. They want their referendum." - Conservative Leader Iain Duncan Smith

"I really cannot believe that, deep down, [Tony Blair] believes that the changes that this new constitution is going to bring are not worthy of a referendum." - Kate Hoey, Labour

"Why has the Government set itself so implacably against the idea of a referendum on a treaty which, in my judgment, does raise constitutional implications?" - Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesman

"Wouldn't other countries have taken more seriously some of the positions you have now had to abandon if the Government took more seriously the views of the people and were prepared to hold a referendum?" - Former Conservative Leader William Hague

"Why is the Government so insistent that the people of this country should not be consulted on the way they are governed?" - George Stevenson, Labour

"This is the Government's docile surrender to the concept of a politically united Europe - a betrayal of trust." - Michael Ancram, Shadow Foreign Secretary

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