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REBELS TO FIGHT BLAIR'S EU DEAL.

Byline: CHRIS McLAUGHLIN, Political Editor

TONY Blair was warned yesterday that he faces a Commons rebellion if he takes Britain into a new deal for Europe without a referendum.

The threat came after the Premier stunned MPs with a call for a new EU constitution "as soon as possible".

His U-turn on the Government's wait-and-see policy pushed British sovereignty to the heart of the European election campaign in June.

MPs on all sides fear the new deal would whittle away more of Britain's rights to make decisions.

Former Labour minister Frank Field said: "There is a huge amount of dispute ahead of the Government. There are an increasing number of MPs who are deeply troubled. As we enter this crucial period, where the Government will be trying to push this through Parliament, there will be increasing pressure at grass roots."

After a 20-hour Brussels summit Mr Blair said he'd like a deal within three months, but insisted Britain would not give up power over tax, defence, foreign affairs or the judicial system.

His call for a quick deal has fuelled speculation that he is clearing the decks for a snap October election.
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 28, 2004
Words:192
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