EU Constitutional Treaty: Referendum

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:00 am on 23rd June 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton of Upholland Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 11:00 am, 23rd June 2005

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, with whom I very much enjoy our regular conversations on other issues and I am delighted is continuing to debate with me, will understand that from my perspective that is a rather wider question than I am able to answer, simply because my brief does not extend that far.

One has to be clear that the European Union is a very important part of the future of this country in a global economy. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said this morning, the issue is not about the idea of the European Union, it is about modernisation and policy. This is not a debate about how to abandon Europe but how to make it do what it was set up to do— improve the lives of people, a worthy and right thing to do.