The UK's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said tonight that Britain would press ahead with ratification of the Lisbon Treaty despite the “no” vote in the referendum in the Republic of Ireland.
Irish voters stunned Europe’s leaders and brought the ratification process shuddering to a halt, voting by 53.4% to 46.6% to reject the treaty.
As jubilant ’No’ campaigners celebrated in Dublin, the Tories said that the treaty should now finally be declared dead and called on Gordon Brown to abandon ratification by the UK.
But Mr Miliband said that while it was important to respect the Irish result, there should also be a “British view” on the treaty, as expressed in the ratification bill currently going through Parliament.
“I think it is right that we follow the view that each country must see the ratification process to a conclusion,” he said.
“I believe it is right that we continue with our process and take up the Irish offer of further discussions about the next steps forward.”