New Labour’s threat to Eurosceptic MPs over referendum call

Erm, I think the threat would have been: shut up about our manifesto commitments or else! 

Funny how they’re keen to implement other manifesto promises, as if anybody read New Labour’s “little red book” before voting in 2005.

But no, the constitution is now an amending treaty. See, it’s magic! Changed the name of it – ergo, there’s no need for a referendum. (This tactic of changing names puts me in mind of “boncentration bamps“.)

Note that the three rebels are rumoured to be considering abandoning ship to the Tories. Hmm…

From The Times:

THREE former Labour ministers face formal disciplinary action for backing a campaign to force Gordon Brown to call a referendum on the European Union reform treaty.

The outspoken Eurosceptics Gisela Stuart, Frank Field and Kate Hoey were each summoned for an angry rebuke by Geoff Hoon, the government chief whip, and were told that their behaviour was “disgraceful”.

The MPs now face suspension from the parliamentary Labour party if they fail to distance themselves from the cross-party group, I Want a Referendum, which plans to stoke the debate on the constitutional treaty by running mini-referendums in the seats of pro-EU members.

In a sign of the government’s growing nervousness, Hoon took the unusual step of calling the MPs to his Commons office for an “interview without coffee” in a last ditch attempt to silence them.

One MP said: “Geoff was absolutely furious. He never normally raises his voice, but you could hear the noise two rooms away.”

However, this weekend the rebels remained defiant, promising that they would continue to call for Labour to fulfil its “manifesto pledge” to hold a national ballot.

The campaigners hope to persuade members nervous about losing their seats to change their minds and vote with the rebels in the continuing Commons debate.

The Labour MPs being targeted — who include Bill Rammell, the universities minister defending a majority of 97 in Harlow, Esseex — are understood to be furious that parliamentary colleagues are backing a campaign to destabilise them.

Formal disciplinary proceedings against Hoey, Field and Stuart will begin tomorrow at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party. The three Eurosceptics have been the subject of regular speculation that they might defect to David Cameron’s Tories.


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