Does this policy spell end of UKIP?
(T)he next Conservative Government will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that if any future government agrees any treaty that transfers further competences from Britain to the EU, a national referendum before it could be ratified would be required by law… And so, as we campaign for the referendum the people of our country were solemnly promised, we are fighting not only for them to have their say now, but for them always to have their say.
He poured scorn upon Gordon Brown’s decision to not hold a referendum on the ‘Reform Treaty’, declaring: ‘The attempt to portray this treaty as fundamentally different from the EU constitution, when 240 of the 250 provisions are exactly the same, is one of the most bare-faced and deliberate misrepresentations in the modern annals of political deceit’.
Mr Hague is no Europhile. His instincts, loyalty and patriotism are sound. When one places these statements alongside those of Mr Cameron, who has promised that the Conservative Party will hold a referendum even if the Reform Treaty has been ratified by Parliament and the EU has its ‘Constitution’, it is clearly time for UKIP to vote Conservative.
UKIP has never sought to impose ‘independence’ on the British people; it has never sought to undermine democracy, or to arrogantly brush aside the expressed will of the British people. On the contrary, it has sought to halt the drip-drip-drip of Westminster’s powers to Brussels, and to let the people determine their own future.
The Conservative Party is now offering this. If UKIP has a mature leadership, if UKIP is composed of grown-up political animals, if UKIP activists genuinely care more about their country than their political party and insignificant posturing, they should realise that their policy of attrition has triumphed: the Conservative Party has changed, and for this they may take some of the credit. And while this is a Conservative manifesto commitment, a solemn pledge to the British people from which (after their unrelenting criticism of Prime Minister Brown) they cannot resile, UKIP cannot stand against any Conservative candidate, but must now actively support the Conservative Party and campaign for this policy to become law.
Cranmer pleads that surely to God this seismic shift in Conservative EU policy has to be worth UKIP giving them one last chance?