Lisbon Treaty Update
By Nigel Farage
2008 is the year that the EU intends to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Their plan is to do this as quickly as possible and to avoid referendums, except for the Irish, who will hold one. This Treaty, virtually identical in context to the failed EU Constitution, transfers significant powers to Brussels and must be opposed.
The second reading of the Treaty is due to come before the House of Commons on 21st or 28th January 2008. Third and final reading is planned, with a couple of weeks or so of debate, to be completed in March. The process will then move to the House of Lords. The EU is keen to have 26 ratifications before the Irish Referendum, which will probably be in May.
Ex-Labour Party activist but now UKIP member Stuart Bower has a case against Gordon Brown. Stuart stood for UKIP in Hove, East Sussex, in the General Election of 2005 and will be our candidate there again.
On 7th February at 10am he has been granted a hearing at Brighton County Court against Gordon Brown on Breach of Contract of the Human Rights Act (the right to a free election).
His argument is that the manifesto pledge to have a referendum was a binding contract which has been broken. UKIP members who want to support Stuart will be told more by the South East organiser Steve Harris, who can be reached on 01903-885573. I will be there on the day, too, and we can expect considerable interest in the result.
It is likely that the end of February and through March will see huge interest in the media about this Treaty. We need as many UKIP branches and candidates out in High Streets and markets meeting the public.
Steve Allison, Head of Campaigns, will be e-mailing a petition form to every branch this week which can be downloaded. Every signatory who gives us permission will receive further details about UKIP and our campaign for independence.
It is worth remembering that in 2003 large numbers joined UKIP after signing petitions.
The Treaty comes before the European Parliament in February. The result there is a foregone conclusion.
In December we led the protest against the Charter of Fundamental Rights. There will be further protests because these people have reneged on a promise to give a referendum.
Houses of Commons and Lords
With no UKIP MPs it is the Tory Party who will lead the demands for a referendum on this Treaty (we must bear in mind that their euro scepticism runs no deeper than this).
Perhaps our best hope is a referendum amendment in the House of Lords where Lords Pearson and Willoughby de Broke will play their part.
At the moment the arithmetic does not look very promising. This is chiefly because the Lib-Dems have also broken their manifesto pledge to support a referendum on the Treaty.
Our Irish colleague Kathy Sinnott works with us in the Independence and Democracy Group. They will want as many people as possible to come and knock on doors in May. The other nationalities in IND/DEM will also be sending helpers. Ireland may well be the only chance we have to stop this Treaty!