Tories Won't Release EU Negotiation Plans Ahead of General Election, Says Hague

Tories Won't Release EU Negotiation Plans Ahead of General Election, Says Hague

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that the Conservative Party will not release plans around a negotiation with the European Union unless the Conservatives are voted back in to government next year.

The announcement will prompt concerns that the Tory plans are either unworkable or non-existent, a long-held view from both the continent and from eurosceptics in Britain.

Hague, who is a former Conservative Party leader himself, said “We are at that stage rather than the stage of a shopping list of detail.”

The Sun reports that the foreign secretary was clear that the next year would be spent establishing “common ground” within the EU.

He said: “The only way for the voter to get a referendum on Europe is to vote Conservative at the general election.”

At the same time, the firebrand MP David Davis has said that any MPs should be given a free vote over an in-out European Union referendum, meaning that political parties should not whip their MPs to take a party position.

Speaking after the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday night, he said: “One of the most contentious issues in the past year or two within and outside the coalition has been a referendum on the European Union.

“If there is an argument inside the Government, why not let the House of Commons decide by putting the Bill to the House of Commons?”

The Hull Daily Mail reported Mr Davis as having said: “After all, we no longer accept that a vote lost in the House of Commons will lead to a fall in the Government. That is explicitly prevented in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, so why not put such things to the House?

“When we go into the next election, people would then be able to see exactly how everybody voted and we would no longer be relying on the promises of parties, but on their actions.”