The Conservative leader, David Cameron Photo: PA
By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
14 Sep 2009
The Conservative leader has only pledged a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if it has not yet been ratified across Europe but, if elected, he is now under pressure to hold a retrospective poll if necessary. Labour refuses to hold a referendum under any circumstances.
Ireland, the only country to be blocking the introduction of the treaty, is due to hold a second referendum next month having previously rejected it. However, with Ireland now facing economic difficulties, voters there are expected to be more willing to back the Treaty.
It will then be quickly introduced throughout Europe – before the next general election in this country.
However, today’s poll found that 57 percent of those questioned believe that a future Conservative government should offer a referendum on the ratified treaty, with only 15 percent saying there should be no such vote.
More than forty percent (43 per cent) of those polled said that Britain should leave the EU altogether rather than accept the Lisbon Treaty without a vote.
Twenty-six percent of those questioned said that Britain should accept the Lisbon Treaty rather than leave the union.
The YouGov poll was commissioned to mark the start of a major series in the Telegraph over the next fortnight which will analyse Britain’s relationship with Europe.
There is growing concern over the increasing reach of Europe in the domestic, rather than economic and commercial, affairs of this country. Less than 20 percent of those polled thought that Europe should be integrated further.
Just 13 percent of people polled said they would vote for the treaty in a referendum with 36 percent saying they would vote against. However, 39 percent said they were unsure how to vote.
Gordon Brown has refused to call a referendum on the Treaty despite Labour’s manifesto pledging to call such a vote on a European constitution. Ministers claim that the treaty is not a constitution even though it is virtually identical to the proposed constitution which was previously rejected.
Yesterday, the campaigner who spearheaded the Irish “no” vote against the treaty during the country’s first referendum said that he would help campaign during the new poll. Declan Ganley had previously said he would not take part in the campaign but says he has been “provoked” to intervene.
He believes the treaty will “be sunk” in the referendum on October 2nd, adding it was a “myth” that endorsing the treaty would help Ireland’s economy. He told reporters in Dublin that he was hoping to raise as much as 200,000 euros for advertising against the treaty.
David Cameron warned by Angela Merkel over Lisbon Treaty