[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 11:48 GMT
Pressure on Cameron over EU poll
Conservative leader David Cameron
Mr Cameron reshuffled his teams days after the PM made changes
David Cameron must pledge a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty even if it is ratified before the Tories come to power, Tory MEP Daniel Hannan has said.

Mr Hannan warned Mr Cameron "let us play no games of our own" on the issue.

Mr Cameron has pledged to fight for a referendum on the EU reform treaty after one was ruled out by Labour.

But he has not said whether a future Tory government would scrap the treaty and hold a referendum if - as expected - it is ratified by MPs next year.

Mr Cameron is resisting pressure from his own MPs - including two frontbenchers - to promise voters a say irrespective of whether the treaty has been approved by the time of the next general election.

Mr Hannan warned the Tory leader he had to be "absolutely straight" about the Conservative position or risk failing the same "trust" test he has himself set the prime minister.

'Danger'

Mr Hannan went on: "If the treaty is as bad as David Cameron says it is (and it is), it doesn't become any better for having received Royal Assent.

"If the case for a referendum is as powerful as he says it is (and it is), it is no less powerful when applied retrospectively.

"There is a danger, though, that voters will think that my party is getting in its surrender in advance, preparing now for a sell-out in government."

Forty-seven Conservative MPs - almost a quarter of the parliamentary party - have backed a Commons motion demanding a plebiscite "before or after ratification".

Mr Hannan added: "My party calls Gordon Brown a liar because of his sophistry over Europe, and we are right to do so. Let us play no games of our own."

Full debate

Mr Cameron has given the prime minister a rough ride over his refusal to hold a referendum on the treaty despite a Labour manifesto pledge to hold one on the failed EU constitution.

Ministers insist the treaty is substantially different to the constitution and that Mr Brown has protected British sovereignty over areas such as policing and foreign policy.

Mr Brown has said he wants a full debate in the Commons - a process that could take up to three months - before its expected ratification next year.

On Sunday, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted it was "unlikely" the Conservatives would win a Commons vote calling for a referendum because of Labour's majority.

But he said the party would keep the pressure on Mr Brown in the hope of forcing a public vote.

Earlier this week, Mr Cameron echoed this view by arguing the time for the referendum was now - and that there were a number of "hypotheticals" to be considered regarding a post-ratification plebiscite.

Poll lead

In a separate development, Mr Cameron called for an end to overseas military adventures as he promised a break with Tony Blair's interventionist foreign policy.

Speaking on a visit to Berlin, where he held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Cameron said countries had to be more realistic about what they could achieve.

And he denounced the "utopian" ideas that underpinned Mr Blair's approach to Iraq, when he was prime minister.

It comes as a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph suggests the Conservatives are enjoying their highest level of support for 15 years.

Its survey of 2,105 voters across Great Britain, taken on 22-24 October, found 41% would vote Conservative in a general election, with Labour on 38% and the Lib Dems on 11%.


* Earlier versions of this story suggested Mr Hannan had said Mr Cameron must "stop playing games", a quote supplied by a news agency. He has pointed out he did not use those words so the quote has been amended to "let us play no games of our own".

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific