Brown: Irish rejection of EU treaty no hindrance to ratification
Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty should have no adverse impact on the continuation of the ratification of the European Union (EU) reform treaty, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday.
He respected the Irish vote against the treaty in last week's referendum and understood that Dublin had asked for time to reflect on how to go forward, Brown told parliament in London, reported dpa.
"This is surely a matter for the Irish to decide what they want to do," said Brown.
"They have not suggested either that they wish to postpone the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty for other countries, or that they wish to stall the whole process," Brown said.
During angry exchanges at Prime Minister's Question Time, Brown rejected a call from Conservative leader David Cameron to accept that the Lisbon Treaty was "dead."
"You say this is a matter for the Irish. But the Irish people have spoken. They have said 'no'. Which part of 'no' don't you understand?" Cameron asked.
Continuing with the ratification process regardless amounted to "bullying" of the Irish, he added.
The heated exchanges came only hours before British legislation to ratify the Lisbon Treaty is due to take its last parliamentary hurdle in the House of Lords, the Upper House of the British parliament.
Conservative peers have tabled an amendment demanding a delay in the third and final reading of the bill until October. If their motion is successful, Brown would have to travel to Brussels for the EU summit Thursday without the treaty being ratified by Britain.