John Redwood posts today on “Shades of Euroscepticism” from which, the last paragraph:
“There are the Come outers in UKIP constantly saying that the only answer is immediate withdrawal. They assert that we need to withdraw without explaining how that is going to happen. There are the Better off outers within the Conservative Parliamentary party, who do work with others to try to limit further transfers of power and to start to shift things back. There are many suggestions on the combination of referenda, votes in Parliament and clauses of the Treaty that could get us out or get us into a new relationship, but less thought about how the Eurosceptic majority can unite its forces to have its way.”
John Redwood is quite correct in his summation of Ukip – lets face it, as the only party shouting for a referendum the least they could do is explain to people how they intend extricating Britain from the clutches of the EU. Thereafter I must take issue with what follows, not that Redwood is proposing the suggestions to which he refers. However, one would have thought he might have taken the time to explain that votes in Parliament will not extricate Britain and that there is only one clause (not clauses) in the Lisbon Treaty by which we can extricate ourselves.
I see from the speccie that the David Cameron met a group of Tory backbenchers in Downing Street this afternoon to discuss his forthcoming Europe speech. John Baron, Peter Bone, Edward Leigh, Mark Reckless, Philip Davies and Steve Baker attended the meeting. They were representing the 100 Conservative backbenchers who had signed the original letter in June calling for legislation in this Parliament for a referendum in the next. From Isobel Hardman’s last paragraph it would appear that John Baron has been “sold” this renegotiation meme?
Digressing, on the referendum question, in order to satisfy my understanding when speaking about Norway and referenda, I emailed the Norwegian Embassy in London and the following, from Hauge Lars-Erik, is the response:
“As you correctly point out, referendums are not mentioned in the Norwegian constitution (Grunnloven). The referendums in 1972 and 1994 regarding membership in the EC/EU respectively, were so-called advisory/consultative referendums. The system of parliamentary rule means that it is the Storting (parliament) that determines the composition of the Norwegian Government. It is also the decision of the Storting to decide whether or not to initiate a referendum on a particular issue; http://www.stortinget.no/no/
The Norwegian constitution to which I referred in my email can be read here. Interesting to see that in Norway, as here in the UK, the people’s ability to have a referendum is by means of a “gift” from their politicians.