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David Lonsdale
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When William Hague wanted to make the Euro an issue, Blair took it off the agenda by promising voters a referendum. Whenever the Conservatives sought to raise the issue thereafter, the commentariat were able to say, quite simply, that since the people were to be allowed to decide, the euro was a non issue in the election. A similar promise on EU membership would pull the teeth of UKIP and attract those from all parties for whom the EU is the number one issue. Furthermore, it would show Labour and the Lib/Dems in a bad light if they were to argue against a referendum. Conservatives need to recognise that, to win an election, they need those folk who voted UKIP at the last election. They made the difference in so many seats. They may not all have been potential Conservative voters but they were clearly passionate about the EU. For example, Lord Stoddard is a de-whipped Labour peer. If the Conservatives offered a referendum on the EU, people like him would vote Conservative for the first time in their lives. The danger from Clarke, Curry, Taylor and Gummer would be minimal. Arguing against a referendum would carry no weight with the electorate. The electorate are sovereign, are they not.
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