I rise to present a petition about the Government and MPs' duty to honour their promise of a referendum on the EU treaty. The vote just taken rejecting the referendum marks a low ebb in the history of this Parliament and represents a disgraceful betrayal of the British people.
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I accept your guidance, Madam Deputy Speaker, and will keep my remarks to at least half a few minutes.
Tonight's vote represents a disgraceful betrayal of the British people and illustrates why the House is at a lower ebb than I can ever recall in my lifetime.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is my understanding that the traditions of the House allow hon. Members, when presenting a petition, to make some introductory remarks focusing on the contents of that petition. It is also a tradition of the House that hon. Members are allowed one or two minutes in which to do that—a maximum of two minutes is stated. I wonder whether I could be allowed to follow that tradition.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will accept your ruling and read out what the petition states:
The Petition of residents of Castle Point and others supporting the Telegraph EU Petition,
Declares that the EU Reform Treaty will significantly affect the constitutional arrangements between the UK and EU, and affect the way Britain is governed, permanently removing powers from Parliament to Brussels, particularly through a European Head of State, an EU diplomatic corps and Foreign Minister, a common system of criminal justice and a European Public Prosecutor, the abolition of 40 vetoes, bestowing a legal personality, treaty making powers and therefore all the trappings of statehood on the EU, and reducing Britain's strength on the Council of Ministers by 30 per cent., and that all the main parties promised a referendum at the last general election and that those MPs who now renege on their election promise will be held to account when they seek to make further election promises.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to consult the people before ratifying the Treaty.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.