By Daniel Martin
French officials have penned an explosive document entitled ‘Solution to the Irish Problem’, in which they say the EU should push Ireland into re-running its referendum next year, opening the way for the treaty to come into force.
In return, Europe would offer Dublin a few promises, in a bid to ensure its people vote in favour of the treaty.
Critics say it is almost identical to the EU Constitution, rejected by the French and the Dutch in 2005.
Labour promised British voters a referendum on the constitution – but then reneged on their promise when it was re-fashioned as a treaty.
Ireland’s support is vital because the Lisbon Treaty cannot come into force across the EU until all 27 countries have ratified it. Ireland was the only country which gave its voters a referendum.
The leaked document predicts that Ireland will cave in at a meeting of Europe’s leaders next month, and agree to hold a second referendum next Autumn.
It adds: ‘The second Irish referendum could take place, on this basis, during Autumn 2009, pushing back the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon until 2010.’
Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: ‘It cannot be right for the Irish to be made to vote twice on the renamed EU constitution before the British people are allowed to vote once.
‘Gordon Brown has cheated British voters of their say.
‘The right response to the Irish “no” vote is to abandon the Lisbon treaty altogether and call a total halt to the centralisation of power in Brussels.’
Neil O’Brien, of Open Europe, said: ‘The EU simply won’t take no for answer. They will make Ireland vote again and again until they are bullied into coming up with the so-called “right” answer.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: ‘It’s deja vu all over again. In Europe, yes means yes and no means: “We’ll do it again later”.’