Below is a copy of my speech I made during the Treaty of Lisbon plenary debate. For those of you who want to watch my performance, you can see the video at the bottom of this post.
Roger Helmer (NI). – Mr President, can I first of all respond to our good colleague Mr Barón Crespo, who said that we could not allow the will of a small minority to stand in the way of the European project.
In my country, opinion polls show that some 75% of the British people want a referendum and two thirds of them would vote ‘no’. If that is what Mr Barón Crespo thinks is a small minority, all I can say is that it is not my view of a small minority.
As a number of colleagues have pointed out, we are actually voting on something that we cannot read. We have no consolidated text. It is an absolute scandal!
Many people on the other side of the House are telling us that this is a good thing. I have heard again and again what a good thing it is. If it is so good, then why not go out in the streets and argue it in front of the people in a referendum? Why are you running scared?
Today, the European project is abandoning any claim to democratic legitimacy. Today, we will vote through the renamed Constitution in an act that shows monstrous contempt for European citizens and democratic values. In 2005, the voters of France and Holland decisively rejected the constitution.
I am astonished by the bare-faced effrontery of European leaders, who have changed the packaging but are now bringing back the substance in defiance of public opinion. Most French and Dutch MEPs will support this report. I do not know how they will face their voters. I do not know how they will sleep at night.
In the UK, the Labour Government has broken its solemn promise of a referendum, yet in postal polls conducted by campaign groups, more than 80% of voters vote ‘yes’ to a referendum. By forcing this measure through in the teeth of public opposition, you are hacking at the very foundations of the Europe you are seeking to build. We must listen to the people. They demand a referendum.