SIR George Young, MP for North West Hampshire, has announced the launch of a petition across his constituency which demands that local people be given a say via a referendum of the proposed European Union constitution.

The petition will be presented to Parliament and is part of a nationwide campaign to put pressure on the Government.

Launching the campaign, Sir George said: "I am delighted to support the Parliamentary petition calling for a referendum on the proposed EU constitution.

"Despite what the Prime Minister says, this constitution would make fundamental change in the way we are governed and will affect the daily lives of every single person in North West Hampshire.

"Referendums on the constitution are already going to be held in other EU countries including Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and Luxem-bourg. They are likely in the Netherlands and in France. Other member countries are seriously considering holding them. Britain is the only country ruling a referendum out.

"Local people must be able to have their say. We call on people across Hampshire to sign our petition so that local residents can be given a democratic vote."

Copies of the petition are available from the North West Hampshire Conser-vative Association, 2 Church Close, Andover, SP10 1DP.

The Rt Hon Michael Ancram MP, shadow foreign secretary, added: "This government has held referendums on everything from devolution for Scotland and Wales, to regional assembles in England and elected mayors up and down the country.

"That's 34 referendums since 1997 with one still pending on the single currency - if the Government ever summons up the nerve to hold one.

"It is downright hypocritical not to hold one on the most serious constitutional issue of the European Constitution itself.

"And if it is because they fear losing a referendum on this issue, then they shouldn't be going down this constitutional road against the wishes of British people in the first place."