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European Union Bill

Part of Safe Standing (Football Stadia) – in the House of Commons at 7:51 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons) 7:51 pm, 7th December 2010

I thank my hon. Friend, but in my opening remarks I referred to the opinions of some Members on my side of the House, and of course she is among them. I do not think that the mainstream of the Labour party is particularly against referendums. We offered a referendum on the euro should the five tests for entry into the single European currency have been met, and we offered a referendum on the European constitution, which, as Members know, was dropped because of the referendums in France and Holland. A new treaty came forward, for which we had committed to no referendum, which was why there was no referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

The Bill is not about democracy or a referendum. For many Conservative Members it is not about any future competences of the European Union; it is about getting out of the European Union altogether. I am sure that it was introduced to try to satisfy some of the Conservative Eurosceptics, but as we have seen from today's debate, it goes nowhere near far enough to do that.