Before the general election, Mr Cameron gave a ‘cast iron’ pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. However the treaty was ratified before he came to power and he said there would be no point having a poll at that point. But Lord Hesketh, who first canvassed for the party in 1959 and was a minister under Margaret Thatcher, said last night: ‘I was appalled when we reneged on the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
‘It didn’t matter that Brown had signed it. Labour had said there would be a referendum. And Cameron could have said the treaty had not been properly dealt with, and therefore he would have been justified in holding one.
He added: ‘I believed until we went back on the commitment to the referendum that he would have a good hand to play, and could tell the rest of Europe we had to sit down and talk about the future.’