Monday, 3 March 2008

Local UK polls show 88% want referendum on EU treaty

Local polls conducted in the UK have shown that 88 percent of voters would like a referendum on the EU treaty, according to campaign group I Want a Referendum (IWAR).

The unofficial poll was conducted by postal vote in ten Labour and Liberal Democrat constituencies in February.

IWAR sent out 420,000 ballot papers and 152,520 people – or 36.2 percent – voted. Of these, 133,251 backed a referendum.

Voters were asked two questions: Voters were asked two questions – whether there should be a referendum on the treaty and whether it should be approved.

Some 88 percent said there should be a referendum while for the second question 89 percent were against the treaty, according to the IWAR website.

Higher education minister Bill Rammell dismissed the poll as “flawed”, according to the BBC.

IWAR’s campaign is supported by former Labour ministers Kate Hoey and Frank Field and Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock.

“This is a fantastic response. All MPs should now take note, listen to their constituents and vote for a referendum on Wednesday,” said Ms Hoey, referring to a vote in the House of Commons later this week on an amendment tabled by the Conservatives calling for a referendum.

The Conservative opposition has been putting the government under strong pressure since the EU treaty was agreed last year to hold a public poll.

It maintains that the treaty is sufficiently similar to the rejected EU constitution – on which a poll had been promised – to warrant a referendum.

UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph reports that although the Labour government majority in the Commons is unlikely to be threatened, Labour whips are nervous of a rebellion.

It notes that some 30 Labour MPs are likely to join the Conservatives in pushing for a public poll – this could go up if the momentum towards a referendum increases – while a key factor will be how many Liberal Democrats join the ranks.

By Honor Mahony
This article first apeared on