Euro Elections 'Will Test Public Opinion on Constitution'

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June's European elections may be the only chance voters will have to demand a referendum on the European constitution, says a senior Tory.

In a speech on the last day of the Welsh Conservative conference in Llandudno, Jonathan Evans, the party's leader in the European parliament, said the Government had been inept in its handling of the issue.

On Friday, party leader Michael Howard launched a UK-wide petition calling for a referendum on the constitution during a visit to the conference. He said the constitution was 'wrong in principle'.

Mr Evans told delegates on Saturday, 'The European election is of more importance this year than ever before.

'This will be the last test of national opinion before the General Election.

'It is the only opportunity for people to send a message to Tony Blair.

'And it will be, probably, the only opportunity people get to say that they want a say before Tony Blair signs Britain up to a European constitution.'

Conservative policy on the constitution was 'simple and clear,' Mr Evans said.

He added, 'Our principled opposition stands in stark contrast to the inept approach of this Labour government.

'Be in no doubt, this constitution represents a fundamental change in the relationship between our country and the European Union. …