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UK MPs vote against referendum on EU reform treaty

[JURIST] The UK House of Commons Wednesday voted 311-248 against putting ratification of the new EU reform treaty [JURIST news archive], properly known as the Treaty of Lisbon [official website; PDF text], to a public vote, thereby rejecting proposals for a national referendum. Parliament itself will now consider whether to ratify the treaty, drafted to replace the failed European Constitution [JURIST news archive]. The treaty must be ratified by all 27 EU member state signatories before it can take effect. Influential UK Conservative Party donor Stuart Wheeler [BBC profile] launched a legal effort [JURIST report] in January to force the British government to put the ratification of the treaty to a public vote, arguing that Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] has broken a pledge to hold a referendum on the pact warranting judicial review. BBC News has more.

Last year, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband [official profile] similarly rejected calls for a general referendum on the treaty, instead insisting [transcript] that it was sufficiently different from the earlier draft European Constitution that would have been put to a popular vote [JURIST report]. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the referendum option [JURIST report] earlier last year before leaving office.

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