Next year’s European elections will be a referendum on Gordon Brown, according to a West Midlands MEP.
Philip Bushill-Matthews MEP, leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament, criticised Gordon Brown for failing to hold a referendum on the controversial Lisbon Treaty, which the Government’s critics say is essentially the European Constitution in a new guise.
Labour promised a referendum on the constitution, but insists a public vote is not needed on the treaty.
Speaking to the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mr Bushill-Matthews said: “Labour of course are very happy with the Lisbon Treaty. It is fiercely federalist, so they love it.
“Liberal Democrats say they are not so happy with the Treaty - because it is not federalist enough.
“But if you ask the people - they don’t want it at all!”
He added: “There is one referendum that is already fixed; a date Gordon Brown cannot duck, the European Parliament elections next June.
“This will be the first national referendum on Gordon Brown. Does the country want a Prime Minister who not only dithers in Britain but dithers in Brussels?
“Or do we want a Prime Minister prepared to lead, who understands the challenges of our broken society back home, and who understands the need for real reform in Europe?”
The European election in June would be a “referendum on leadership”, he said.
“Next June we will have the opportunity to give the clearest of signals to Downing Street, and the clearest of signals to Brussels, that the old policies of the left have had their day.”
Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, the party chair, said the conference had been a great success, in one of the final speeches of the week.
She said: “As a local MP it has been great to bring the Conservative conference to Birmingham as Chairman. It has been a productive week setting out our plan for change with the policies the country needs for economic stability and to address wider social concerns.
“It has also been an opportunity for party members to learn something about Birmingham, and I hope for Birmingham to learn some more about the Conservatives.
“Those coming to Birmingham for the first time from across the country have told me they have been ‘wowed’ by the city. There has been a really warm welcome and we have been very well looked after by all those who have been involved on the ground.
“I know my Shadow Cabinet colleagues will be looking forward to coming back in 2010.”