Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Queuing up for a Referendum

I have never been so happy to see such a long queue as the one today outside the House of Commons for the Mass Lobby asking for a Referendum on the European Treaty.

Early in the morning I had picked up a group from Cambridge. We hitched a lift on a bus from Harlow (meeting the BBC's Nick Robinson with camera crew in the car park. He was interviewing Coleen who is organising a referendum there). By lunchtime we were with thousands of others from around the country queuing up outside the House of Commons. Very good humoured!

At one point Tony Benn walked down the queue telling us all why he wanted a referendum. "Why are you still a member of this terrible, terrible Labour party then?" asked a lobbyist from Neasden. Tony proceeded to give a long story about how Labour had saved the NHS, how well his own wife had been cared for when suffering from cancer, how the dreadful Tories would have forced his wife to go private. "STOP IT TONY THAT IS NOT FAIR" I said. "My husband is an NHS consultant, an oncology (cancer) specialist - and it is because I am so concerned about what Labour has done to the NHS that I am so proud to be a Conservative Candidate." Big cheer from the queue.

Earlier my own MP Jim Paice, Shadow minister for Agriculture had come to talk to us in the queue. At that point I was talking to Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, the "black farmer", Conservative Candidate for Chippenham and campaigners from the West Country. They discussed the treaty's potential impact on UK Farming.
Three hours later the Cambridge contingent (seen here front of photo looking concerned) were still waiting to hear from their Lib Dem MP who appeared to have gone into hiding. The group from Harlow had also heard nothing from their Labour one. The right to lobby one's MP is an important part of our democracy. It was interesting to see which MPs cared.

Update "David Howarth was totally shockingly illogical" text message just recieved from the Cambridge student who eventually did lobby him. An interesting observation about a Cambridge Fellow turned Lib Dem MP.


Louise Bagshawe said...

I was at the Referendumn rally as well Vicky. Your commitment to our democracy and the party is tremendously encouraging. I would urge East of England voters to select Vicky Ford as their MEP. Nobody will work harder and nobody is a truer Tory.

Anon said...

In the final photograph, who is the ridiculously attractive woman on the far left?

Vicky Ford said...

Annunziata Rees-Mogg clever, committed and good looking too!