Spectre of Europe Haunts Cameron; POLITICS: Ireland's 'Yes' Vote Raises Issue Again on Eve of Conference
Byline: Telegraph reporter
TORY leader David Cameron is fighting to prevent a damaging new rift over Europe dominating his final party conference before the general election.
As activists gathered in Manchester, he rejected calls by Conservative Eurosceptics for a commitment to press ahead with his promised referendum on the controversial Lisbon Treaty, regardless of whether it had been implemented by the time an incoming Conservative government had taken power.
Mr Cameron, instead, sought to focus attention on his pounds 600 million "Get Britain Working" plan which propose to scrap Labour's flagship New Deal programme and replace it with a simplified scheme intended to get the growing army of unemployed back into work.
However, following Ireland's 'Yes' vote over the weekend in the country's second referendum on the treaty, he found himself coming under intense pressure to explain what he would do if the treaty had been fully ratified by the time of the election, which is expected next May.
Mr Cameron - who is only committed to holding a referendum as long as the treaty is not yet fully in force -insisted he was not prepared to speculate as long as the two remaining member states, the Czech Republic and Poland, had yet to complete the ratification process.
"I think people will understand that while there are other countries actually delaying the implementation of this treaty, you don't do anything or say anything that stops them from doing that," he said. …