Continued confusion over a Europe referendum
It was a bit of a walk and talk and he didn’t want to stop, but I think Ken Clarke just told us that he thought it was the settled policy of the Tory Party to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and nothing else.
The leadership is clearly thinking about a referendum on “something else” and this story is not going away.
UPDATE: We now have Ken Clarke’s words in answer to the question: “should there be a referendum of some kind even if Lisbon has been ratified by all the countries?”
Mr Clarke said: “I thought we were debating the perfectly settled policy of having a referendum if the Treaty isn’t ratified. That’s the only policy we have.”
He refused to answer the question if he had sought assurances that the party was not edging towards some sort of referendum on Europe even if Lisbon had been passed… but he sounded like a man who had done just that.
Inside a fringe meeting on Europe, Mr Clarke said: “I think the policy on the Lisbon Treaty is settled. We will have a referendum if it is not ratified when we come to power.
“If it is ratified before we come to power it will not rest there. That is a settled policy with which I am wholly content and I do not think it would be remotely sensible to seek to change that policy in the course of this conference.
“And I know that for a fact with my complete approval it will not be changed during this conference.”
– Related: Boris Johnson, from EastEnders to Europe
– On Thursday the Channel 4 News website will be providing extended live coverage of David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference, including film extracts, expert analysis and Twitter commentary. To watch and contribute, go to www.channel4.com/news from midday on 8 October.