The ballots go out
The poorly defined but potentially draconian constitutional changes being proposed by the EU’s Lisbon Treaty have created a growing groundswell of resistance. I want a referendum.com has just announced that it will target the constituencies of Labour ministers and Europhile MPs, including Jacqui Smith, Ruth Kelly and Chris Huhne, in the biggest vote on the future of Europe since 1975.
”Activists across the country have been raising funds in order to be able to hold referendums in their local area. In total half a million people will be sent ballot papers.
The first seat to start voting on Monday will be East Renfrewshire - the seat of Europe Minister Jim Murphy. Ballot papers will start to arrive through people's letterboxes in the other constituencies throughout next week.
Other seats where people will get the chance to vote include:
Hammersmith - seat of Andrew Slaughter
Gedling - Vernon Coaker, Under-Secretary of State for Crime Reduction
Somerton and Frome - David Heath, Lib Dem Shadow Justice Secretary
Conwy - Betty Williams
Pudsey - Paul Truswell
Harlow - Bill Rammell, Minister of State, Higher Education
To carry out a professional poll IWR has commissioned Electoral Reform Services, the world's leading independent ballot administrator and independent reviewer. The ERS plays a vital role in the leadership elections of all the major political parties, and each year provides independent balloting services for hundreds of organisations, including government agencies, charities, multinational companies and trade unions. The political independence and electoral expertise of the ERS is recognised in parliamentary legislation and at the United Nations.
During February, voters in the constituencies will receive a pack containing an information leaflet with contributions from both sides of the debate, a ballot paper, and a freepost envelope. Voters will be asked two questions:
1. Should the Government hold a national referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty: yes or no?
2. Should the Government adopt the EU's Lisbon Treaty: yes or no?
The campaign of constituency referendums will form a backdrop to the Government's attempt to force the treaty through Parliament without a referendum. The results of the referendums will be announced before the end of February. The Commons is likely to debate an amendment calling for a referendum in the first week of March, and the Government aims to push it through both Houses of Parliament before the summer."
We are thrilled this campaign is moving forward. Note that the two MPs who represented Britain during negotiations on the EU constitution - Gisela Stuart MP, Labour, and David Heathcoat Amory MP, Conservative – are advisory members of I want a referendum.com