Letters: Hail Goldsmith but vote Labour

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am writing to correct the misleading impression given by John Rentoul's piece "Goldsmith finds an unlikely ally in rebel Shore" (20 June). I am not "an ally" of Sir James Goldsmith, nor do I support his new Referendum Party. I have been a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years and have served in past Labour governments - I shall vote Labour at the next election and to imply that I might do otherwise is absurd.

However, I do think that Sir James has done a service to British politics by highlighting what is undoubtedly one of - if not the most - important issues in British politics today. It would be a constitutional outrage if any British government was to bury the pound sterling in a European single currency or to take any other significant federalist measure without the prior consent of the British people in a referendum.

Sir James's intervention has already helped to bring about an important shift in Conservative party policy. They are now committed to a referendum. Labour is, unfortunately, still equivocal on this issue; it has accepted that a single currency is of such importance that popular "consent" would first be necessary - either through a general election or through a referendum. The issue would, of course, be buried in a general election and that is why I am campaigning for a clear commitment to a referendum.


(Bethnal Green and Stepney, Lab)

House of Commons