In a dramatic political U-turn, Ireland has voted decisively in favour of the Lisbon treaty just 16 months after it first rejected the European Union reform plan.
With counting continuing this evening it was expected that 64% of those who voted in Friday’s referendum would have backed the treaty.
But I don’t like this result: best two out of three?
Now expect to hear Eurocrats celebrating the democratic will of the Irish people…
In a related message, David Cameron has sent this to supporters (emphasis mine), explaining how difficult a Conservative win will be to secure:
Our Conference starts in Manchester this weekend. It’s going to be the most vibrant and exciting for years.
Next week, we won’t be playing it safe – instead we will be offering bold plans to deal with the big problems the country faces.
Labour spent their conference talking only to themselves – not the country.
In contrast you will see a Conservative Party united, determined and ready to deliver the bold, tough and radical change Britain needs.
Labour are now the party of unemployment – at this conference we will show that we are the party of new jobs and new opportunities.
To deal with Labour’s Debt Crisis we will be setting out some of the tough decisions that need to be taken and unlike Gordon Brown we won’t duck them.
To give people hope for the future the country needs to change direction, and our Conference will show how we’re ready to make that change.
But there is absolutely no complacency.
Every member of the Conservative Party needs to remember the following: the Conservatives have never won a General Election from a starting point as difficult as we face now.
To win a majority, we must hold every seat we won in 2005 plus an additional 117 constituencies. This would be the biggest number of Conservative gains at a General Election since 1931.
We can do it: but we are going to have to work incredibly hard for every vote, every day between now and polling day. In this election, every vote will count.
This weekend we will hear the results of the referendum in Ireland on the re-named EU Constitution.
I want to make one thing clear: there will be no change in our policy on Europe and no new announcements at the Conference. There will be no change in Conservative policy as long as the Lisbon Treaty is still not in force. The Treaty has still not been ratified by the Czechs and the Poles. The Czech Prime Minister has said that the constitutional challenge before the Czech Constitutional Court could take 3-6 months to resolve.
I have said repeatedly that I want us to have a referendum. If the Treaty is not ratified in all Member States and not in force when the election is held, and if we are elected, then we will hold a referendum on it, we will name the date of the referendum in the election campaign, we will lead the campaign for a ‘No’ vote.
If the Treaty is ratified and in force in all Member States, we have repeatedly said we would not let matters rest there. But we have one policy at a time, and we will set out how we would proceed in those circumstances if, and only if, they happen.
This is going to be a great Conference. I look forward to seeing many of you in Manchester.
Well, I’m off to Manchester tomorrow where I will be chairing three joint fringe debates for the Smith Institute and the Centre for Social Justice on the bank bailouts, housing and insolvency. Looking forward to it.