European Union (Amendment) Bill
Lord Tomlinson (Labour)
We are beginning to make progress towards a consensus. I agree fairly substantially with the noble Lord, Lord Blackwell. The content of his amendment is highly appropriate; it is just its location in this Bill which is entirely inappropriate and wrong. I have no difficulty with the substance of what he is saying. I believe that I support a Government whose position in relation to the euro remains unchanged. They are in favour of the principle of joining the euro and I look forward to my noble friend confirming that policy, but in practice the conditions for that entry must be right. Those conditions have been laid fairly unambiguously by the Government and we all know the evaluation of economic tests made historically.
I can agree with the noble Lord that, at the end of that process when we believe the conditions have been met, there should be a referendum. But to locate that in this Bill to enable the ratification of the Lisbon treaty would be an act of complete folly with no logic. The only argument used to sustain it is to say that, because people might not trust the Government when they talk about referenda, anything on which we may need to have a referendum should be grounded in this Bill. That is a nonsense which needs to be opposed. I am sure that on sober reflection, knowing the cross-party agreement and consensus that the noble Lord has on the content, he will withdraw his amendment, knowing that this is the wrong place to put it.