"This is an attempt to paper over the Lib Dems' widening split on a referendum on the renamed EU Constitution. "But the key question remains whether the Liberal Democrats will honour their manifesto promise. The Lisbon Treaty is in substance, nearly identical to, the EU Constitution. "That is what the Lib Dems promised their voters a referendum on. They did not mention an in-out referendum to voters - they have no mandate for one."I doubt very much that this Lib Dem smokescreen will be agreed to by the House of Commons. And you can bet your house on Clegg counting on that. The motion will fail and Clegg will claim that the Lib Dems backed giving the public a vote whilst the other parties refused. Clegg knows that the majority of the public, both left and right, want to stay in the EU (according to the polls). He believes that if his pathetic motion does by some wild chance get passed and the public do get a referendum on our membership of the EU, we will vote to stay in.
I'm not so sure. The polls say that the majority of the people want to stay in the EU. The polls also say that the people would reject the Lisbon Treaty if given the chance. What the polls do not tell us is this: How the people would vote on membership of the EU if they were refused a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I'm for staying in the EU as it stands now. However, if we are not allowed a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, I would vote "out" if given a referendum on our membership of the EU. It would be a protest vote. Some would call this petty, but I would call it grasping at the only shred of democracy left to me.
So I hope Clegg gets his "in or out" referendum, because he could get more than he bargained for.