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Lib Dems challenge Opponents to support an "in or out" referendum

January 29, 2008 9:00 PM

European FlagNorthampton North constituency Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Andrew Simpson, is calling on the local Labour & Conservative MPs to back the campaign for an "in or out" Euro referendum. The party say the referendum would be an opportunity for the British public to determine whether Britain should continue to be a member of the European Union or not.

"There has been a debate on Britain's role in Europe for many years without voters having the chance to express their opinion clearly through the ballot box," said Andrew. "In fact it's been over thirty years since the British public had a say on this subject. To deny voters this chance would be a travesty of justice.

"Unfortunately the last time the House of Commons had a chance to vote for an "in or out" referendum the Conservatives formed a pact with the Labour Government to reject the proposal for narrow party advantage.

"Not everything is perfect with the European Union but it has delivered many positive benefits such as cheaper goods, better environmental protection, increased freedom to work and live abroad, and strong measures to tackle international crime. As a party that welcomes these benefits for the UK we would campaign to stay in Europe in the referendum.

"But the EU has changed beyond recognition since we last had a referendum in 1975. No member of the public under the age of fifty has had the opportunity to vote on the significant changes that have taken place over the last few decades. So whatever our individual views we should all agree that the people must have their say."

Ends

Note to editors

Labour and the Conservatives voted together on Wednesday 14th November to deny the public a crucial vote on whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union. A Liberal Democrat amendment to the Queen's Speech laid out proposals for a referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Union. Northampton North MP Sally Keeble voted against the amendment, Northampton South MP Brian Binley was not present to vote.