As might be expected, a very full debate ensued, with the Labour Party taking the view that no referendum was required. Their arguments were either abuse, 'you're all xenophobes' etc., or claims that the new treaty was minor or otherwise harmless. What there wasn't was anything on the central issue that both treaties were the same and the government had broken a manifesto commitment. This was very interesting indeed. With the government spouting a line that the Constitution Treaty and the Reform Treaty are totally different you would have expected that their own most fervent supporters would have believed this enough to advance it as an argument, but they didn't. This is a pretty good indication that Brown and co. are on to a loser.
The “Reform Treaty”, signed by Tony Blair on 23 June, is acknowledged publicly
by the leaders of nearly all our EU partners and by the parliamentary cross-party European Scrutiny Committee to be virtually the same as the
France and the Netherlands decisively rejected that Treaty.
The “Reform Treaty” transfers yet more substantive powers from Britain to the EU and further erodes British laws and the British Constitution.
It will reduce the rights and freedoms of the residents of Basildon and of the whole nation.
Therefore this Council calls on Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, to abide by the Government’s promise to the electorate in the 2005 Labour Party Manifesto, page 84, “We will put the [Constitution Treaty] to the British People in a
The motion was carried. As well as being a very damaging issue for the Labour government this is also a very uniting issue for the Conservatives.