John Redwood is putting forward an idea which is an attempt to mollify those who are demanding a referendum, whether the Lisbon Treaty is ratified or not. Obviously if it has not been ratified by the time we have a Tory government, then there is no problem. But if it has, then it will be extremely awkward for Cameron. It will be a foreign policy nightmare to remove ourselves from a Treaty we are already signed up to.
So what John Redwood is suggesting is a clarification of what Cameron has said all along. John suggests that if the Treaty has been ratified by the time Cameron is PM, then the government will renegotiate some powers back to the UK from Brussels. This has always been Cameron's position ("I won't let it lie there"), but what is new, is that once the powers to be grabbed back have been outlined, they should be put to a referendum.
I think it best to have a renegotiation, and then to put the results to the people. It is high time the people could express a view on the value of our relationship with the EU. We might get that on Lisbon, if it remains unratified and there is a change of government. If not, let’s have a referendum on any renegotiation. That will concentrate Brussels minds on the need to give us real power back, if the people are going to judge the outcome. As a minimum we need full control of our social and employment policies, taxation, foreign and defence policy, and of Home affairs.I agree with what John has to say. It's the only realistic option available to Cameron. I want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but I also understand how difficult that will be after ratification. So if John is sounding out the grass roots on behalf of the party, then his suggestion has my approval for a start. It's not exactly what I want, but I think it is the most I can sensibly expect.
Of course, we could avoid any future clash with the EU, if only Gordon Brown was a man who kept manifesto promises.