Prescott hint on referendum

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Indy Politics
THE FIRST hint of a Shadow Cabinet crack over a Maastricht referendum has broken with John Prescott, Labour's transport spokesman, appearing to question the leadership's opposition to a national ballot, writes Anthony Bevins.

Mr Prescott told a private party meeting in south London on Sunday night that he had always been against a referendum on Maastricht. But he added: 'The firm rejection by the Prime Minister of the Social Chapter has pulled the rug from under those of us who believed that we had a parliamentary decision-making process.

'If Parliament is to be ignored, avoided and treated with the contempt shown by John Major, then the only way that Labour can see a way to getting the treaty signed with the Social Chapter is to consult the people,' he said.

'That would either be by general election. . . or other forms of wider consultation, including referendums.'

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