Letter: European monetary and political union

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Sir: If John Major and his government maintain their opposition to holding a referendum on Maastricht because of the representative nature of our system of parliamentary government, there is a way open to him to satisfy his critics on this issue.

While the Government, having negotiated the treaty, is committed to its ratification, backbenchers within the Conservative Party should be given a free vote, with the opposition parties following suit. The argument in favour of this course is that MPs, while wishing to consult their constituents, will ultimately have to use their own judgement on the specific terms of the Maastricht treaty and avoid many of the arguments raised in both the Danish and French referendums which either misinterpreted or had nothing to do with the actual treaty.

A free vote, without the use of whips, will thus ensure a genuinely democratic outcome under our national system.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW3

21 September