Fraser Nelson

Opik joins the yellow rebels

Opik joins the yellow rebels
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A cheeky little bird has leaked me this text, from a letter Lembit Opik sent to a constituent - saying he will defy Nick Clegg and abstain from a vote on a referendum for the Lisbon Treaty:

“The question of a referendum on the Treaty itself is a hard question.  As you well know, others say that the treaty is so much like a Constitution that it warrants a referendum on its own. I think the best thing I can do is abstain on the specific vote about a referendum on the treaty, while pushing for a vote in accordance with our position that the real referendum that needs to be had is whether we stay in the EU or not.”

Many Coffee Housers may consider the phrase “principled Liberal Democrats” an oxymoron, but Nick Clegg’s line on the EU Constitution is flushing them out. Opik and the other 65 LibDem MPs were elected on a manifesto to bring about this referendum - about half the party thinks as Opik does. Remember on current polls, half the LibDem 66 MPs are scheduled to lose their seats. This tends to focus the mind. And, who knows, the Lisbon Treaty debate may be interesting after all.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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