LETTER : It is time for a referendum

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The Independent Online
Sir: My thanks to Andrew Reid (Letters, 12 March) who clearly took the time to read Sir James's letter to the candidates and supporters of the Referendum Party in Monday's newspaper. As president of the Young Conservative Group for Europe, Mr Reid must firmly believe that the British people's interests are best served by the Maastricht treaty and the creation of a federal Europe. Why then is he so opposed to a referendum?

It brings us back to the same old argument that those in favour of Maastricht are against the idea of a full debate on the subject leading to a vote by the people. They constantly refer to the Referendum Party as anti-European. That is incorrect. Neither are all the 400 selected parliamentary candidates anti-European nor all the 45,000-strong registered supporters of the Referendum Party. They are, however, all 100 per cent of the belief that the potential loss of our national sovereignty is a decision to be taken by the people.

As for Mr Reid's suggestionthat we want a referendum "allowing the public a retrospective vote on the Maastricht treaty", it served the government to do it in 1975, when, and here I repeat a quote that Sir James used in his letter, there was "no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty".

So now, when there is clearly a huge amount to lose and a decision to be made that will affect generations to come, is it not time to let the people decide?

Sebastian C Sainsbury

Parliamentary Candidate for

The Referendum Party

London SW7