Times of India(Reuters report), April 19. LONDON: Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated on Monday for the first time that Britain might shelve plans to hold a referendum on the European Union Constitution if France rejects the treaty next month. Blair's Labour government, fighting for re-election on May 5, has until now been adamant it will call a vote on the charter in 2006 regardless of plebiscite results elsewhere in the EU.Well. Pundita has no comment except to note that Mr Blair's waffling about holding a referendum has given the Tories an opening if they care to take it.
As fears of a French 'no' vote grow, polls show Blair would be very hard-pressed to convince traditionally euro-sceptic Britons to back the treaty.
Most commentators say a 'no' vote in Britain could end the pro-European Blair's career as premier.
Asked on Monday whether he would call a referendum even if France had voted against the charter, Blair said: "You can't have a vote on nothing."
Speaking of waffling, yesterday Mr Blair denied that he made a deal with Gordon Brown and categorically stated during an appearance on the telly that he will serve out his term. When pressed by the interviewer about whether the denial meant that Mr Brown had imagined the deal, the Prime Minister replied, "As far as I'm aware, as I think he was saying this morning, as we sat on the sofa together, you know, we were there together to serve as prime minister and chancellor."
If you tell me that's not exactly a reply, I agree. It's a Blair Koan.