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Tories push for EU referendum.

Summary: Ahead of Thursday's elections, the Conservatives have launched a fresh bid for an EU referendum.

The Conservatives have published a bill which could pave the way for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

It is being seen as a bid to pile the pressure on Gordon Brown ahead of Thursday's European elections.

The Tories are urging voters to use the June 4 poll to send a clear message to Labour - that it must deliver on its manifesto pledge of a referendum on the European Constitution.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said the Lisbon Treaty Referendum Bill would finally give British voters a say on the Treaty, which he said was effectively the same as the failed Constitution.

He went on: "Labour caved in under public pressure during the last European election campaign and promised a referendum on the EU Constitution.

"We are campaigning in these elections to force them to cave in again - and honour the promise they made in the first place."

Britain ratified the Lisbon Treaty through a vote in Parliament last June but it cannot come into force until all 27 member states have completed this step.

Tory party sources said the new bill will not be tabled in the current Parliament, but has been prepared in order to be passed once the Conservatives win power.

The question to be asked in a referendum would be: "Should the United Kingdom approve the Lisbon Treaty?" with voters asked to give a simple "Yes" or "No" answer.

Meanwhile, politicians of all major parties have voiced fears of an exceptionally low turn-out for Thursday's local and European elections.

Many voters in the UK are expected to boycott the ballots in protest at the ongoing scandal relating to MPs' expenses.

A survey last week suggested two-thirds of the British electorate believe they are being lied to by the politicians campaigning for the Euro elections.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Jun 2, 2009
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