Not So Great Britain

Blair rejects call for EU referendum | June 27, 2007

Holding a referendum on the EU treaty would entail “sucking the energy out of the country for months”, Tony Blair said today.

Making his final full statement as prime minister before retiring on Wednesday, the prime minister rejected outright Tory demands for a plebiscite on the weekend agreement.

In an unusual move, the prime minister was joined on the frontbench for the statement by the new Labour leader, Gordon Brown, who will have to pilot the bill through parliament this autumn.

Mr Blair repeated his principal reason for refusing to grant a referendum: that Britain’s “red lines” had not been breached by the marathon negotiations, which only came to a close at 5am on Saturday morning.
But Mr Blair conceded that the 48-hour talks had comprised “an exceptionally difficult negotiation”.

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