Blair Picks VE Day to Launch Campaign for EU Constitution

Daily Mail (London), February 24, 2005 | Go to article overview

Blair Picks VE Day to Launch Campaign for EU Constitution


Byline: DAVID HUGHES

TONY BLAIR plans to launch the campaign for a Yes vote on the EU constitution on May 8 - VE Day - if he wins the general election.

Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt revealed last night that the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe has been chosen as a symbolic date by the Yes campaign.

It is just three days after the general election expected on May 5. Miss Hewitt said the Prime Minister was determined to 'hit the ground running' if he wins a third term.

The campaign will get under way during a crucial few weeks for the EU.

France, where Euroscepticism has been increasing, is expected to hold its referendum in May, while the Dutch will vote on June 1. The constitution will fall if it is defeated in just one of the 25 member countries.

In a speech at the Mansion House in the City, Miss Hewitt admitted the Government faces an uphill struggle to win the referendum - not expected until September next year. She confessed: 'No one can be satisfied with the overall performance of the European Union'.

The choice of VE Day was branded 'pathetic' by the No Campaign.

'It is an attempt to make the Yes camp look patriotic,' said campaign director Neil O'Brien.

'The reality is that there is nothing patriotic about signing up to something which will damage our economy and mean more power for unelected officials in Brussels. …

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