» Thursday, May 19, 2005

EU Referendum

Asked if there were any circumstances with which the British Government would ratify the EU Constitution in any form except with a referendum for the British people, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had made it clear on several occasions that the British people would have their say and that remained the case. As for what happened if there were various different scenarios, following a French or a Dutch referendum, the PMOS said people would have to wait and see.

Asked if the referendum was discussed at Cabinet, the PMOS said there was a brief discussion led by Douglas Alexander that set out the basic position.

Asked if the referendum bill was published yesterday, the PMOS said: no. Geoff Hoon would be making his business statement later this morning.

Asked whether the position was that there would be a referendum if there was still a Constitution to vote on, the PMOS said this was what he had been making clear yesterday. The situation was that there was a clear commitment to give the British people a vote on the constitution. If there were votes in Europe that affected that context, then we and others needed to reflect on that context. The PMOS said it was better to wait and see, as what we would not do was to interfere in any way in either the French or Dutch referenda, and Douglas Alexander had made that clear this morning.

Put to him that Jack Straw’s comments that the EU would have a "problem" if the French voted "no" was in fact interfering, the PMOS said the Foreign Secretary was giving a statement of the facts. What he did not do in any way was intervene in the French referendum.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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