LETTER: Conservatives did not renege on EU referendum promise

I AM delighted to answer Mr Hutchinson’s question (letters, August 11).

The Conservatives did not renege on a promise to hold a referendum on our continuing EU membership because no such promise was made. The Conservatives did advocate holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but instead, Labour forced the ratification of the Treaty through Parliament, choosing not to consult the British people.

I voted against ratifying the Treaty, and in favour of a referendum. Indeed, the Conservatives encouraged our colleagues across Europe to block the ratification, and only reluctantly abandoned our referendum policy when the Czech president signed the Treaty, bringing the ratification process to an end before we came to power. Sadly, a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty now would be unable to prevent any of its ramifications.

What we pledged at the election – and have implemented since – was a “referendum lock”. Any future treaty which proposes to transfer powers from Westminster to Brussels will be, by law, subject to a referendum, putting an end to the unaccountable practices of previous regimes.

I cannot be clearer than I have been about my personal stance on the EU which has been, remains and always will be, highly sceptical. However, rather than perpetuate this correspondence, I am happy, through your pages, to invite Mr Hutchinson or any other constituent to meet me in person to discuss this in as much detail as they wish.

JOHN HAYES

MP for South Holland and the

Deepings