A British court has rejected a millionaire’s attempt to force the government to hold a referendum on the EU treaty. Eurosceptic Stuart Wheeler had argued that the British people were entitled to vote on the issue under the terms of the Labour Party’s 2005 manifesto. He immediately asked for leave to appeal but this was refused.
The ruling will be welcome news for Gordon Brown, however. The case had already forced the Prime Minister to delay formal ratification until the court’s ruling.
19 members of the EU bloc have already adopted the pact. The process is ongoing in a further seven, including the UK, while it has been rejected by one – Ireland. It must be ratified by all 27 members before it can come into force. Europe’s programme for reform was plunged into chaos by the Irish “No” vote.
Ministers gathered at a two-day summit in Brussels last week to map the way forward. One option already suggested by France is to ask Ireland to vote again next year.