LETTER: Don't rush into a referendum

Sir: The Conservative Party's response to the perceived threat of Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party is hasty and mistaken.

Hasty, and clearly an over-reaction, is the Government's present flirtation with a referendum on the issue of a single currency (report 11 March). This will certainly not be enough to buy off James Goldsmith. He wants a referendum now, allowing the public a retrospective vote on the Maastricht treaty and Britain's relationship with the European Union, not a hypothetical promise of a referendum if and when Britain joins the single currency.

There is no evidence yet put forward that either the electorate is crying out for a referendum or the electoral impact of the Referendum Party will be anything greater than that of the UK Independence Party at the last election.

The Government should take clear and decisive control of its European policy rather than appeasing other political parties or even its own diehard Eurosceptics, who will not be happy until Britain has left the European Union.

Andrew Reid

Girton College,


The writer is the president of the Young Conservative Group for Europe