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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Should the UK vote on EU treaty?
Political activist John Bull campaigns outside the Houses of Parliament
Plans for a referendum on whether the UK should ratify the EU constitution have been shelved, Downing Street has confirmed.

It comes after "No" votes in France and the Netherlands which some analysts said had effectively killed the treaty.

But German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac have urged EU nations to continue ratifying the constitution.

Do you think the UK should vote on the EU treaty? Is the EU constitution dead? Should the ratification of the treaty continue in other countries?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Arron Clements, UK
The UK government has said that it plans to shelve plans for a referendum on the European Constitution. Do the British people deserve a chance to voice their opinion?

I don't see the point of voting on this treaty. Clearly the union is going to have to come up with another version and it will then be sensible to ask us what we think of it. To have referenda on plans that have already been voted down, could mean coming back and asking us several times what our views are. This would be costly and impractical.
Mark, Sheffield, England

After watching messers Chirac and Schroeder this weekend I think there should be a vote. I am certain the result would be a resounding no and hopefully it would kill the constitution off forever. You don't need to be that bright to understand that those would gain the most by ratification are those pushing to continue with it.
Tim, Bradford, West Yorkshire

I'd quite like to have a referendum, but before we do it'd be nice for people to actually understand what the draft constitution would mean, rather than voting "no" as a knee-jerk "no to Europe" reaction.
Tim Miller, London, UK

Those who shout for a referendum now only do so to rub salt in the wound. What we do need is discussion and real involvement with all shades of opinion to see what can be salvaged from this mess so in the end we have a Europe of Nations that can actually work together to fend off all the dangers from round the world, Mid East, Far East and elsewhere who will be delighted to see a fragmented Europe unable to defend itself economically or any other wise. We need democracy with vision, justice with purpose, not loud voices for petty local interests.
Darren Newman, Horsham, UK

In the 70s we voted on whether or not we wanted to belong and participate in a 'common European market'. It is my belief that France and the Netherlands have not voted on the EU Treaty but have taken this opportunity to voice their distaste at the pace and style of political integration. We in the UK should still have our referendum but the question should be about whether or not we want political integration or just a common market place
M Davies, Derby, Derbyshire

Why is Britain so against the EU? You are either part of it or not, you can't have the good things and not want the bad, everyone must work together to make it work. Blair just decides himself whether the whole country will do or not do something without bothering to ask the people. He's not bothered to ask whether we want the Euro or not and now our opinion is not asked on this either. Sort it out!
Ian, Cambridge, UK

Clearly referendums have no real meaning in UK politics as Mr Blair will only let them go ahead when he is assured of a victory. Are they not meant to allow the UK public to have their say?
Jim, London

I think Blair and Straw will be making quite a brave stand if - as they have indicated - they use the six month UK Presidency to insist that the treaty is dead. It was clearly an all-or-nothing deal and over the next few years all the issues need to be opened up and discussed again.
Martin Ternouth, Dorchester UK

Having a referendum on it now is a waste of taxpayers' money
Mike, Guildford, UK
The French and Dutch people have already killed off the treaty. Having a referendum on it now is a waste of taxpayers' money. Save our say until a new improved constitution is put forward - hopefully a lighter version of this 400 page monstrosity.
Mike, Guildford, UK

Absolutely... however, it's not going to happen as politicians, yet again, say one thing, and completely mean the other!
Colin Grant, Manchester, UK

It's not worth voting on the current treaty as is. We should though be given the right to vote for any amended proposals even if these are not in the form of a treaty. Otherwise we will not have had an equal voice as the Spanish, French and Dutch.
Woody, England

I would like the opportunity to vote on the Constitution as I believe the citizens of the UK have as much right to express their opinion as The French or Dutch. However as 'President' Blair was virtually strong-armed into planning a referendum and would be humiliated by a 'no' vote. I've no doubt it will be buried.
Peter, Chelmsford, UK

The EU Constitution is dead, but surely we should be taking a step back and asking the British public what their vision of Europe is. The first step, then, is a referendum on Maastricht. We should also ask Britons whether they want to spend 1.1% or more of GDP on keeping pointless bureaucrats in Brussels in foie gras and triple malle. The government also needs, urgently, to find out how we can avoid contagion from France and Germany's social and economic crises? What impact is the inevitable collapse of Italy's economy going to have on us? How do we insulate ourselves from irresponsible nations that we have tied ourselves to? These are all huge questions with very real implications and nobody trusts Tony Blair to investigate and come up with answers.
Mike, London

If there is to be a similar referendum in future, then all countries should vote by referendum and on the same day
Martin R, Bristol, UK
Unless and until France and Holland explain how they are going to be able to ratify the constitution it is dead. As things stand, if there was ever any chance of a referendum 'Yes' in the UK it has gone. How can anyone whip up any enthusiasm for a 'Yes' vote for something that is an impossibility. The only result of a UK referendum would now be an overwhelming 'No' which would allow Chirac to shift a lot of the blame to the UK and weaken the UK's position, so a referendum now is not in our national interest. If there is to be a similar referendum in future, then all countries should vote by referendum and on the same day so that it's a level playing field.
Martin R, Bristol, UK

The minor issue of the abolition of foxhunting was railroaded through the last Parliament using the excuse that it was in the Labour manifesto. As Labour have now promised us a vote on the EU constitution in their last manifesto, (and in the Queen's speech), they should have no excuse for denying us our say now. Or are they cherry-picking which bits of their manifesto they choose to implement?
Anne, Haslemere, Surrey

I believe that the French and Dutch referendum results reflected more on the state of their internal politics more than that of the EU. This said, I think that the EU and nation states, including UK, have been negligent in providing balanced information about the proposed constitution... Most people do not realise that in the face of the strengthening economic power of Asia, a strong and unified Europe is required to defend the lifestyle that we value so much.
Tim Rollinson, Tonbridge, UK

The proposed European Constitution is in tatters. The electorate in France and the Netherlands voted No to the all or nothing constitution although it contained some proposals which were quite acceptable. The complicated Constitution is not easily understood by most Europeans this is the main reason for its downfall.
Eddie Espie, Cookstown

Of course not, the treaty is dead. It would just be a waste of time and money to go ahead. The only reason Chirac wants the UK to hold a referendum (and subsequently fail) is so he and the Dutch PM don't get all the blame for the collapse of the treaty. Tony Blair on the other hand wants to avoid a referendum at all costs. He knows that when he suffers defeat in the referendum it will weaken his position as an already fragile PM.
Kimi, Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes. The people of the UK should be allowed to vote on the EU constitution. Then we can bury it, once and for all.
Neil, Hull,

The Eurocrats will have to eventually listen to their electorate
John Francis, Worthing, UK
We should have the referendum and as we are trying to promote or force democracy around the world, perhaps when more nations democratically vote NO to the treaty, the Eurocrats will have to eventually listen to their electorate.
John Francis, Worthing, UK

What price for democracy when the politicians ignore the referendum results anyway? I'd love to have the chance to vote on this but fear any opposition is given little or no recognition.
Jools, Edinburgh, UK

By all means have a referendum here, as long as either the EU or the Conservative party foot the bill. I'm not paying for it!
Steve, Bristol, UK

Let us have our say. That way there is no way they'll be able to squeeze through bits and pieces of the constitution, and hopefully will result in the 'new' EU idea folding and the union going back to the trading bloc that it was intended to be.
Ed Mee, St. Albans

The more countries that vote no, the more Europe will understand that we do not want more needless red tape.
Paul Collier, London UK

France and Holland stabbed the constitution in the back
Al, W'Ton, UK
France and Holland stabbed the constitution in the back. Whatever the UK does it will be blamed like the innocent sucker who picks up the knife after the murder.
Al, W'Ton, UK

If the treaty is in fact dead, what would be the point of wasting 100m on running a referendum? The answer would be 'no' anyway.
Mikey, Spalding, UK

Our politicians should go back to school and be re-educated on one basic point. They are elected to represent the views of the people. To me, those views are clear - i) No European constitution, ii) no expansion, iii) no single currency, iv) no government from Brussels etc, etc. The unelected EU leaders are trying to railroad us into an American model - and I'm pleased that many people are now waking up to the fact that corporate global greed is not the way to win the hearts of the up to now, silent majority.
TOG, Up North, UK

A referendum on the constitution would at least be a chance for us to have some kind of a say
Dick, Wales
Even if the constitution is effectively dead, we should still have the chance to give our view. I voted to stay in the Common Market in 1975, and I would vote to get out of the EU now. Where is my chance to tell my elected representatives this? A referendum on the constitution would at least be a chance for us to have some kind of a say. Or don't ordinary voters count any more?
Dick, Wales, UK

Probably no point having a vote. The people who want a vote mainly want to embarrass the government which is fine providing they raise the funds, otherwise the taxpayer will have to fund it.
Roger, UK

No. We should have a referendum on whether we wish to be part of a European Super State, a common market or neither of the these.
Angus, Huntingdon, England

Britons must not be denied their right to vote on the EU constitution. The French and Dutch people have their say which indicates that the EU constitution may need to be reformed in a way that makes it flexible to suit all the EU member states. Let us see if British people agree with the EU constitution.
M Salhab, London, UK

Although it is politically dead I think we should have a referendum because we would get a proper debate and therefore a better understanding of the treaty, and perhaps with more no votes the Eurocrats might finally get the message and actually start listening to the people of Europe which they are supposed to serve, not dictate to.
Oliver Spencer, Worthing, UK

Ratification should continue, if only to ensure that all countries are able to express their views. France and the Netherlands have provided a clearer sense of where the EU might be headed, but this is not necessarily what other countries desire, and their beliefs also need to be taken into account.
Dorothy Rothschild, Fife, Scotland

Do Schroeder and Chirac think we have nothing better to do than vote on something which isn't going to happen? Someone should tell them that the EU treaty is dead, defunct, extinct. It is an ex-treaty!
Chris B, Bedford, UK

I understand that the treaty has to be ratified by every member of the EU. As two countries have already rejected the treaty surely a referendum in this country would simply be a waste of money?
Mark White, Colchester, UK

If the constitution is not acknowledged by all as dead - and clearly, right now it isn't - then of course we should vote, as we were promised we should have the chance to do. Why should our opinions count for less than the Spanish, French or Dutch?
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK

This is the first bit of democracy shown on this subject in this country. Pity our government only grudgingly did the right thing in response to a fait-accompli.
Stephen Brooks, York, England

Of course we should have a vote. Nobody in this country who is under the age of 45 has ever had a chance to voice their opinions on this issue.
Gordon, Staffs, UK

Yes, we should still hold a referendum. We are still entitled to have our say. The EU needs to know where all citizens stand on this issue. Otherwise, they will just try to say that 'only two countries rejected the treaty'. Trouble is, Tony Blair is afraid of the result so he will try and wriggle out of it - as usual.
Karen, Southampton, England

I think a UK vote right now, would be a complete waste of time and money since there are two countries already voting no. This EU constitution question will be asked time and time again until the "correct" answer is obtained, no matter how many times we say no anyway.
Peter C, London, UK

As a result of the French and Dutch votes, the treaty will have to be amended before it can be ratified. So any vote on it before it's been amended is pointless, since we wouldn't be voting on the treaty that would eventually be ratified.
Tony Green, Ipswich, UK

Yes, we should be allowed to vote. If two "no" votes were enough for most experts to say the constitution is dead, let us thrust the third stake through it's heart to make sure!
JR, Nottingham

What is the point on voting for something that isn't going to be implemented anyway?
Rachel, Oxfordshire, UK
The treaty is effectively dead. What is the point on voting for something that isn't going to be implemented anyway? It's simply a waste of time and money. However, I am nervous about the EU trying to get through parts of this treaty by the back door. I would hope that if this is attempted then a referendum would then take place on various parts of any relevant legislation.
Rachel, Oxfordshire, UK

Politicians are ignoring the fact that, if given the opportunity, most UK voters would choose to opt out of the EU altogether. That's why we will never be allowed to voice our opinion in any matter relating to Europe. It would simply be political suicide for the government of the day.
Glen, Welling, UK

Yes let's have the referendum and bring in the third NO vote. This is the only way to stop attempts to still get the treaty ratified.
W P Derbyshire, London, UK

I really rather resent being denied the opportunity to have my say on the future of Europe just because it gets Blair off the hook.
Dean, Maidenhead, UK

Of course we should. Despite the no votes, Old Europe's political elite is threatening to go ahead with ratification. If I can help to put another nail in the coffin of EU federalism then, please, let me do it.
Mark, London, UK

Clearly this treaty is dead in the water. What is the point of wasting a great deal of Parliamentary time debating something that, in its current form, is never going to be ratified? Lets move the debate on.
Rod, Swansea

This is just an easy way to avoid another embarrassment for Mr Blair. He knows he would lose and the 'No' votes in Holland and France have earned him a 'get out of jail free' card to what would be a resounding 'No' from the people of the UK. As long as we get our vote in the end though, I'll be reasonably content.
Chris, Blackpool, England


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