Will Blair stay longer if France votes NO?
With the people of France voting tomorrow in their crucial referendum on the EU Constitution a YouGov poll UK opinion in todayâ€™s Daily Telegraph has NO 46%: YES 21%: when asked whether they â€œapproveâ€ the new Constitution.
When the pollster last asked the question in January opinion was split by 45-25% so the margin has increased by five points since then. There is a sharp difference between supporters of the different parties.
But there is support from supporters of all parties for the UK to hold a EU Constitution referendum whatever happens in France tomorrow. YouGov found 42-37% in favour of this going ahead anyway.
But would Tony Blair go forward with a referendum if it looked as though he would be defeated? And if there’s no UK referendum how does that affect his resignation time-table?
Until now the official position of the Government is that the UK referendum will go ahead whatever other countries decide. Whether this will hold in the face of a resounding French rejection is a moot point. It will be recalled that Tony Blairâ€™s agreement in April last year to have a British EU Constitution referendum was highly controversial but played a major part in undermining the Conservatives in the run-up to last Juneâ€™s Euro elections. By agreeing to the vote Tony Blair took away the main Conservative platform in what was the final national election before the General Election. Thereâ€™s little doubt that this helped deflect some Conservative support to UKIP.
There’s also been considerable speculation that a succssful UK referendum campaign would provide the opportunity for Tony Blair to stand down because he could go out on a high. But with the polls as they are and the French looking as though they will reject then this could have a big impact on his personal time-table. Is he going to have a referendum which would be seen as him being defeated?