North Thanet's Conservative MP, Roger Gale, has this morning described as "Parliament's night of shame" last night's vote to give the bill that would enshrine the European Constitutional Treaty in law.
Speaking at the House of Commons the MP, who after the vote presented to the House a petition from Kent constituents calling for a referendum, said:
"Every major political party - Labour, Liberal and Conservative - promised at the last General Election to give the electorate the right to vote in a referendum on the European Constitution. Last night we heard weasel words from Foreign Secretary Militant during his attempt, in the Prime Minister's noticeable absence, to justify the unjustifiable. This was parliamentary dishonesty on a scale that I have never previously witnessed and it can only have damaged the standing of what passes for democracy in the United Kingdom.
Over and over again it was demonstrated during the debate that the Lisbon Treaty signed by Gordon Brown is the previous constitution with only cosmetic changes. All of the substance that would create a European Foreign Minister, give the European President a much longer term in office and introduce greater majority voting remain on the table. Those of Kent's MPs who voted to support this further move towards a Federal European "Super-State" are guilty of a monumental breach of trust and will have to be held to account for that at the next General Election - whether Brown calls it this year, in 2009 or 2010.
We shall now target our efforts on securing a vote on an amendment to the bill to introduce the referendum that we know that the people of the United Kingdom want and it will be interesting to see whether those MPs who supported the second reading will, in that vote, have the honesty to recognise the pledge that they gave in 2005 and support us."