Letter: Critical battle for European aerospace

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The Independent Online
Sir: A J Terry seeks an explanation for John Major's free vote mystery (letter, 21 April). Mr Major's impressive election broadcast was quite clear - the vote in Parliament will be on whether or not to endorse the Government's recommendation. Only if the Government backs entering the euro, and Parliament subsequently supports this, will there then be a referendum.

Under these circumstances it is vital that MPs have a free vote. Otherwise, if both government and opposition support entry, any debate in Parliament will be a nonsense. On an issue so important, MPs must be given the freedom to argue their own case and to represent the views of their constituents - both in Parliament and on the doorsteps during a referendum campaign. Only then will this country get the serious debate it deserves.

During this election campaign we should be encouraging candidates to discuss the single currency openly with constituents; we need to know where our MP stands. It seems that Tony Blair wants only to stifle debate - by pillorying Tory MPs who speak their mind, and by making it clear that Labour MPs will be expected to follow the whip in any Commons vote.

Democracy is best served by a free and open vote, whether in Parliament or in the country.


Ely, Cambridgeshire