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Referendum on the EU Constitution

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

Councillor Alan Wood and members of the Campaign for an Independent Britain who compiled the petition agree that it is in the interests of Britain and Europe to renegotiate our relationship with the European Union. They therefore felt it right to test public opinion in the Prime Minister’s constituency and the surrounding areas on the promise that the Prime Minister and nearly all Members of Parliament made, as a basis of their election to Parliament, to hold a referendum on the EU constitution, which is now being railroaded through, with inadequate and often no scrutiny on crucial matters, as happened today.

The constitution shifts powers from Parliament to an unaccountable and undemocratic EU, which is so corrupt and incompetent that, for the 13th year in succession, it has failed to have its accounts signed off—

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I understood the tradition to be that a Member was allowed to speak for about two minutes when presenting a petition.

Hon. Members must stick to the points that derive from the petition. They cannot make a general speech. Two minutes is generous, and the content must arise from the petition, not the hon. Member’s comments.

I understand entirely and appreciate that you are always generous, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I shall therefore draw my comments to an end.

The petition, which I welcome and support, states:

The Petition of Councillor Alan Wood and residents of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and surrounding areas,

Declares that the Prime Minister has no mandate to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon and cites as firm evidence a professionally conducted ballot in the constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath asking residents the unambiguous question: “Do you want a referendum on the EU Treat of Lisbon—Yes or No?”, to which the result was 81.6 per cent. in favour of a referendum, and that the result was accurate to + or - 7.8 per cent. at the 95 per cent. confidence level, and that this result is remarkable considering that there was no pre-publicity and is yet another illustration of the people’s concern about the breach of promises made at election times and the further and historically most significant erosion of the UK’s parliamentary powers and democracy.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to consult the people on this question of fundamental constitutional importance.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


I want to present three petitions on behalf of my constituents in Chorley.

The first deals with more funding for the hospice movement, and 800 people in Chorley constituency have signed it. They rightly believe that there should be extra money, direct from the Department of Health, to contribute towards funding hospices not only in Chorley but throughout the country. It is right to take note of the dedicated work of the hospice movement, whether for adults or children, and recognise that hospices are underfunded. We want to increase funding for hospices, especially Derian House in Chorley and St. Catherine’s hospice just outside Chorley.

My second petition is about the military covenant, and it has been signed by 1,500 people in the Chorley constituency. They ask the Government to enforce the military covenant. The petition was begun by Chorley Royal British Legion, which rightly took the petition forms out on to the streets of Chorley. People have signed in great numbers because they respect and support our troops and their fight overseas. The people of Chorley support not only the Territorial Army from Chorley and C squadron, which is currently in Afghanistan, but all our troops who serve overseas. We ask the Government to ensure that the military covenant is upheld.

My third petition is on behalf of Bolton street post office, Chorley. It is an excellent post office and 1,500 people signed the petition on the premises. The strength of feeling about the possible closure of such a successful post office cannot be underestimated. People are appalled that the Post Office or Royal Mail is considering closing it. I stress that 1,500 people who use the post office have signed the petition. There is no other post office for three miles to the south. It serves an elderly population, the area needs it and its closure would be detrimental. The people who signed the petition asked me to present it to the House on behalf of the postmaster at the Bolton street post office in Chorley.

I would now like to present all three petitions.

Following is the full text of the petitions: