By Hilary White

ROME, November 4, 2009 ( -  While the leader of Britain's Tory opposition party had long promised to stand against Lisbon should he form the next government, David Cameron is now saying that opposition to Lisbon after the fact is pointless. They can “no more hold a referendum on the treaty than … a referendum on the sun rising in the morning,” he said.

Cameron, who is expected to be the next Prime Minister, garnered headlines today when he said that despite what he had once called his “cast iron guarantee” of a public referendum on Lisbon, the party will seek only to “repatriate” some of Britain's powers from Brussels back to Westminster.

“The Lisbon treaty has now been ratified by every one of the 27 member states of the European Union, and our campaign for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty is therefore over. Why?” he asked. “Because it is no longer a treaty: it is being incorporated into the law of the European Union. Next week, the new posts that the Lisbon treaty creates – a president and a foreign minister – will be filled.”

Pro-life campaigners against Lisbon have long warned that the European Union will become even more unaccountable with the passage of Lisbon, which grants the power to overturn national laws, including those like Ireland's pro-life constitutional guarantees, to the European Court of Justice.

But the new Tory rhetoric may not go over well with voters. Benedict Brogan wrote in the Daily Telegraph today that “those who do not live and breathe the subtleties of Westminster may have missed the small print in the 'cast-iron guarantee' the party leader offered when he promised to give voters the say on the treaty that Gordon Brown (and Tony Blair) denied them.”

Judging from the Telegraph's “heaving postbag,” voters are already not happy with Cameron's change of direction. “To them,” Brogan writes, “it was a simple proposition: Mr Cameron said they would get a referendum, and they, trusting souls, believed him.

“They assumed that Mr Cameron meant what he said. Or at least, what they thought he had said. They did not hear the 'but' that limited the pledge to the eventuality that the Treaty had not come into force. And boy, are they angry as a result.”