Britain could hold EU vote if demands not met - PM

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LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) Britain might hold a referendum on a new European Union treaty if its negotiating demands are not met, Prime Minister Gordon Brownsaid today, while adding that he did not think that was likely.

Brown has resisted intense pressure from Labour Party and opposition politicians, trade unions and top-selling newspaper The Sun to hold a referendum on the proposed new EU treaty.

The British government says the treaty is much less ambitious than a defunct EU constitution and can be ratified by parliament rather than requiring a vote by the British public.

Britain won agreement on a series of conditions, or ''red lines'', in negotiations in June on the outline of the new treaty. EU leaders hope to agree the final text at a summit in Lisbon on Oct 18-19.

The treaty is designed to overhaul the enlarged 27-nation bloc's institutions, replacing a more ambitious constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

''If our red lines are not achieved, I've always said we will either veto it or say there has to be a referendum. If the red lines are not achieved then we will accept that there is fundamental constitutional change happening,'' Brown said.

''But I believe that the red lines will be achieved and we will show that we have managed in the course of our negotiations to persuade our European partners that what we want is not only right for us but right for them,'' he told a news conference.

REUTERS PD BD2000

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