Cameron says he will scrap Lisbon Treaty if he is elected


THE BRITISH Conservative Party leader David Cameron has threatened, should Gordon Brown call an early general election, that if he wins he would scrap the Lisbon Treaty.

Mr Cameron has put the Conservatives on election alert amid speculation that Mr Brown could call an election to take advantage of a bounce in his popularity prompted by his handling of the recession.

The Tory leader believes the prime minister could choose to hold an election as early as April, more than a year before the last possible date open to Labour in June 2010.

In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday Mr Cameron said there was now a 50/50 chance of an early election. If the Conservatives won an election, Mr Cameron said the party “could have a referendum [on Lisbon] in October” and lead the campaign for a no vote.

The Conservatives are trenchant opponents of the Lisbon Treaty, which they feel dilutes national sovereignty by trans- ferring too much power to Brussels.

They have accused Labour of a U-turn on Lisbon in refusing to stage a referendum although the party had previously promised to give the public a vote on its forerunner, the EU constitution.

A decision to hold a referendum in Britain in October would cause a major headache for the Irish Government, which is likely to put Lisbon to a second vote that month.

A Conservative-led No campaign in Britain could play havoc with an Irish Yes campaign.

Most political analysts predict a No campaign led by the Conservatives in a referendum on Lisbon would doom the treaty to defeat and prompt a major crisis within the Union.

Even though Britain has ratified Lisbon already, a referendum defeat would make it politically impossible for the Union to implement the institutional reforms contained in the treaty.

Despite Mr Cameron’s speculation over an early election, Mr Brown recently insisted that holding an early election was the “last thing” on his mind.

Tory analysts suggested yesterday that Mr Cameron’s statement on Lisbon was an attempt to strengthen his eurosceptic credentials in the run-up the European elections in June.

The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, speaking in Strasbourg yesterday, said it was extraordinary how the EU, its institutions and member states had listened to the Irish in the wake of the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

Mr Pöttering added that if all countries had the same demands and ambitions as Ireland, the EU would be in great difficulty.