Denial of referendum on Europe an outrage - says Mark Hunter MP

February 28, 2008 6:22 PM

A decision by the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse to have a debate and vote on a Liberal Democrat amendment calling for a referendum on whether to be in or out of Europe has met with an angry response from Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter.

Mr Hunter was one of the 63 MPs who walked out of the Chamber on Tuesday (26th) in protest of the speaker's decision.

"This is an appalling decision" says Mark Hunter MP, "to deny Parliament the chance to vote on our proposal to allow the public to have a real say on Britain's membership of the European Union is an outrage.

"In the last referendum over 30 years ago, people voted to be in a very different Europe from what we have now. There have, rightly, been many important changes as the European Union has developed and grown in size. But the British people have not had the opportunity to vote on those changes.

"Because of the Speaker's decision, they will be denied the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to stay in the EU.

"Labour and the Conservatives have colluded to prevent the real referendum on Europe taking place. The Conservatives are proposing a vote on the narrow issue of the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile, as the events in the Commons show, the Labour Party is terrified of an open debate on the real issue.

"However, the Liberal Democrats have not yet given up hope of getting a debate on our amendment to this Bill and we will continue to press for it for as long as Parliament continues to debate the issue.

"It's time for the Westminster establishment to stop being so cowardly over Europe and have an open debate with the country. Liberal Democrats will be proud to lead the case for British membership of the EU."

Mr Hunter is encouraging people to sign the petition calling for a real choice on Europe. The petition is online at

What would you like to do next?