That Boy Needs Therapy!
Posted Wednesday, 5 March 2008 at 13:59
Yesterday I got an email from Nick Clegg.
The Liberal Democrats have finally lost the plot.
It all started with a melodramatic protest in the Chamber, that wasn't.
They laid down an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty to call for an ‘in or out’ vote on membership of the European Union.
The Speaker selects amendments and decides which ones are called.
Of course, they knew the amendment would never be selected, because the Lisbon Treaty is not addressing the question of membership.
An in-out vote would have to be made to the constitution treaty, which, unlike the Lisbon treaty, contains the treaty of Rome, the treaty of Maastricht, the Single European Act, the treaty of Nice and the treaty of Amsterdam.
A vote on that document would be a vote on all the rules, the whole EU constitution, and such an amendment would be possible.
If the Speaker, in his wildest dreams, had wanted to select the amendment to the Lisbon Treaty, as laid down by the Liberal Democrats, he wouldn't have been able to; and of course, they knew this.
When the Speaker refused to select the amendment, the Liberal Democrats orchestrated a performance which resulted in their front bench spokesman being ejected from the Chamber.
Due to his poor acting skills, he had to try very very hard to make this happen.
Eventually he got there; however, after all that effort, the Lib Dem publicity seeking stunt backfired.
Sitting opposite the Lib Dems are old Labour. Now they really do know how to get themselves thrown out of the Chamber.
We, in this place, are used to seeing MPs driven by conviction pushing to the limit, a political ideology.
They make their protests with passion and style: Iain Paisley, Dennis Skinner, Tony Benn, George Galloway, Kelvin Hopkins to name but a few.
The Lib Dem protest made with zero political conviction and authenticity, looked and sounded hollow; especially when made within the context of a debate framed by the oratory skills of William Hague.
Today is the referendum vote on the Lisbon Treaty, the only amendment which can be called for.
The Lib Dems are apparently on a three line whip to constructively abstain, which means they will vote through the aye lobby, and then vote through the noe lobby to cancel out the vote.
A three line whip on abstention is unheard of.
So, they will abstain on a referendum vote, whilst trying to hoodwink the general public, into believing that they really want an in-out vote on the whole question of membership to the EU, knowing it isn't possible.
It gets worse.
They are now dividing. Lib Dem MPs, such as David Heath, who know their seat at the next general election is hanging by a thread, are desperate to make sure their electorate believe that they are Euro-sceptic, but they aren't. The Lib Dems are a pro-European party.
As Nick Clegg said in his email yesterday
"I believe strongly that Britain should be a full, active member of the EU".
Today will be a fascinating day. We know that there are going to be about 30 Labour rebels genuinely fighting the Euro-sceptic corner, and that will be exciting enough. It’s always good to welcome them into the lobby with us.
However, what will make it really exciting will be watching the Lib Dems tie themselves up into knots, and wondering what their next 'save our seats' publicity stunt will be.
And as for Nick Clegg, no post leadership election bounce and every day reaching a new party management low!
Amateur dramatics really shouldn't be top of his leadership strategy. His MPs can't cope. They are confused, disunited and in disarray.
Everyone in Westminster knows the Lib Dems are nuts; but that Nick Clegg? Crazy like a coconut!!
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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