UK campaigns say 'no' to each other

Click to follow
Indy Politics

A war of words has broken out between groups vying to be the official voice of a "no" campaign if the UK follows France in holding a referendum on the EU constitution.

A war of words has broken out between groups vying to be the official voice of a "no" campaign if the UK follows France in holding a referendum on the EU constitution.

Tony Blair has pencilled in the summer of 2006 as the date for a British vote, but is expected to call it off if the French reject the constitution. Opponents want a referendum anyway, because they are confident that the British will also vote "no".

But a rift has opened up between the No Campaign run by Labour Party activists and others on the left, and the People's No Campaign, which is closer to the right wing of the Conservative Party.

Richard North, research director of the People's No Campaign, lambasted the No Campaign as a "group of self-important, gaffe-prone children, barely out of their teens".

He said: "We are certainly not going to sit around while those moronic youths make a total bloody Horlicks of it on TV and radio."

The No Campaign was launched this month with an advisory board including prominent Labour Eurosceptic MPs such as Kate Hoey and Ian Davidson, as well as Liberal Democrats and the Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas. The group's head of campaigns, Matthew McGregor, 25, a former student activist, was a member of a hard-left organisation that included the Socialist Workers Party.

"Our coalition includes Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and trade unionists," he said. "It needs to be a campaign that appeals across the political spectrum. People are going to be voting on the issues, not parties."

The People's No Campaign was launched last week by Neil Herron, one of a group of street traders from Sunderland who became known as the "metric martyrs" when they risked prosecution by refusing to switch from imperial weights and measures.

Comments