[MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair]
I present an instalment of a petition for a referendum on the Maastricht treaty. It represents the wishes of many millions of citizens of the United Kingdom, as shown by 73 per cent. of the population in the latest MORI opinion poll, the 90 per cent. of those requested who agreed to sign the petition and the 88 per cent. pro-referendum response for the Dial for Democracy.The petition, with its hundreds of thousands of names, comes from throughout the United Kingdom—from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland—and more names are flowing in and will continue to flow in. Our own citizens should have the same opportunity for a referendum as other citizens of the European Community. As the implications of the treaty unfold, so the case for a referendum strengthens. The petition says:
To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of Electors of the United Kingdom sheweth
That the Maastricht Treaty would bring about a European Union.
That the people of the United Kingdom have been given no right to determine, for themselves, in a democratic vote whether or not they wish these constitutional changes to be made;
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House: Will ensure that before the Maastricht Treaty, or any modification or amendment of it, is approved by Parliament, or ratified by Her Majesty's Government, the electors of the United Kingdom shall be given that right to vote for or against that Treaty, in a National Referendum.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
To lie upon the Table.