French 'non' won't stop UK referendum says Blair

18th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, April 18 (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair reaffirmed Monday that Britain would hold a referendum on the EU constitution even if it was rejected by French voters next month.

LONDON, April 18 (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair reaffirmed Monday that Britain would hold a referendum on the EU constitution even if it was rejected by French voters next month.  

"I'm assuming there will be a vote on the constitution (and) it doesn't matter what other countries do," Blair told reporters in London during campaigning for the May 5 general election.  

However, he added: "Well, if there isn't one (a constitution), you cannot vote on nothing. But I wouldn't assume that at all. I am assuming there will be a vote."  

The Guardian newspaper, quoting government sources, reported Monday that Britain was "unlikely" to hold its referendum if the constitution was rejected by French voters on May 29.   Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has previously indicated that a British referendum would take place in the first half of 2006, presuming that the Labour government is re-elected.  

Blair has declared on a number of occasions that a British referendum will take place regardless of the outcome of votes in other EU member states.  

The constitution is meant to streamline the workings of the enlarged European Union.   But opinion polls suggest it enjoys little support among British voters, who are among the most Euro-sceptic in the region.  

More than a dozen polls in France have pointed to the constitution's rejection on May 29, an outcome that would put a question mark over the future of the EU just before Britain's turn at the EU presidency starts July 1.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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