Fraser Nelson

Opik tries to set the record straight

Opik tries to set the record straight
Text settings
Comments

Lembit Opik calls up to set me straight. Here was I portraying him as a principled rebel true to his manifesto by pledging to abstain, rather than vote against, the totemic issue of whether the British public should have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Au contraire, he says. 'On this occasion, I am being a good corporate citizen' because Clegg has decided to allow his 65 MPs to abstain on the issue of a referendum after all. So people like Lembit are off the hook.

Rather endearingly, Lembit admitted he wasn't 100% sure but would call back if he found out any different. Good luck to him finding out anything. For reference, here is Clegg last month:

"We would vote against a referendum on the treaty and vote in accordance with our long-held position that the real referendum which needs to be had is whether we stay in the European Union or not." 

Has this now changed to a whole party sitting-on-the-fence on the referendum question? The Lib Dem position remains mired in confusion. The tragedy is that they could end up standing between the public and the referendum which all three parties offered at the last election.

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.

Comments
Topics in this articlePolitics