According to The Daily Telegraph, Stuart Wheeler, a longtime backer of the Conservative Party, has a good chance of focusing unwelcome attention on the Treaty of Lisbon via his lawsuit against the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary:
Stuart Wheeler, one of Britain’s richest men, has won the first round of his battle to force Gordon Brown to hold a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.
He went to the High Court in London last month to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision not to hold a referendum on the treaty.
Today judges ruled that the challenge can go ahead. The likely two-day court hearing could prove to be very embarrassing for ministers if internal Government memos and emails are revealed.
The legal challenge could also delay the ratification of the controversial treaty by months if court time is not granted shortly. Peers in the House of Lords are due to vote on the legislation later this month.
Mr Wheeler , who made his fortune from City spreadbetting firm IG Index, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we won the case.
“It’s clear to me that we have a very, very strong moral case for a referendum.
“And what this hearing was about was whether we had an arguable legal case.
“But, from what I’ve seen of the judgment, not only do we have an arguable but a rather strongly arguable case.”
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Mr Wheeler originally wanted to claim the Government was illegally handing powers to Brussels.
However, he was advised he stood a greater chance of success if he challenged the Government over breaking a manifesto commitment to hold a manifesto on the defunct EU Constitution.
His case claimed that the EU Reform Treaty is almost entirely the same as the old constitution and therefore the Government should hold a referendum on it.
Mr Wheeler, who has bankrolled the Tories for years, said he hoped the legal challenge would be seen as an initiative “on behalf of all those of us — well over half the population — who want our say in a referendum” on the EU Reform treaty.
Although he is “suing” the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband, he said he would not be calling either as a witness.
Mr Wheeler said: “It is a straight matter of law. We will be referring to the manifold statements by the heads of state in Europe, saying ‘isn’t it wonderful that this new Lisbon treaty contains everything that was in the old one of any importance’.”
Even if he loses, Mr Wheeler is hoping the negative publicity could put pressure on the Government.
It would make sense for the Sweden Democrats and Mr. Wheeler’s group to coordinate their publicity. Joint press conferences, simultaneous public events, and shared publicity would benefit both groups and help opponents of the Lisbon Treaty in all the countries of the EU.
Consider the impact of similar initiatives occurring at the same time in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Italy, etc. Surely the constitutions of those countries also have clauses defining the meaning of “sovereignty” and describing the penalties for officials who traduce it…
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
EU Referendum has more on the subject.
Hat tips: Gaia, Sir Henry Morgan, and Queen.