DENMARK voted in a referendum to reject the Maastricht treaty.

A year later, the country voted in a second referendum to accept it.

Other EU countries have repeated referenda. It is the fine European tradition of keeping on voting until there is the right result.

Many millions feel deceived by the exaggerations and lies in both campaigns.

People voted on false agendas.

Where is the extra £365 million for the health service? Where is the emergency Budget?

Propagandists on both sides lied.

A petition demanding a second vote has 4 million signatures and counting.

Should a decision of such huge importance by taken on lies?

Second thoughts are always superior to first thoughts.

* This week history was made, I became the oldest frontbencher since Gladstone. That’s what Professor Phillip Cowley said.

For the past 26 years I have been a Back Bencher by choice—not just my choice, but the choice of the past five leaders of my party.

Last week, however, I had the call to front bench duty. Great.

There are now far more women on the Front Bench and in Parliament than ever before—although not enough—and far more ethnic minorities, but there is currently a total absence of octogenarians.

It is important for us to have people advocating in Parliament who can remember life before there was a health service. Diversity rules.

A further thought. Gladstone became a Prime Minister at 84. Hope springs eternal.

* The coming week will be dominated by the publication of the Chilcot report.

Parliament will be on trial. It was not just one man; it was hundreds of MPs, three Select Committees, the military and the press who were in favour of joining Bush’s war in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

As a result 179 soldiers lost their lives. Those who saw the very moving programme on BBC2 featuring Reg Keys will understand the true cost of war. Parliament must take responsibility for a decision in 2003.

Without accepting and understanding our responsibility, we could blunder into another futile war.

The loved ones of the fallen must be allowed to make their case. Those who will be accused of fomenting a vain war already have employed expensive barristers to spin their defence.

Truth will be revealed only if bereaved families have similar assistance.