ANYONE who has passed their 30th birthday will tell you that the years seem to come and go more quickly in direct relationship to the number of candles on the birthday cake.

So it will not come as a surprise to reveal that the ten years I have spent in the House of Commons have seemed to have passed by very quickly.

What is also a fact to bear in mind is that for those ten years, Gordon Brown has been at the heart of the Government. So I am afraid that his attempts to portray himself as a new start and distancing himself from the Blair years do not impress me one bit.

It is on his watch as chancellor that pensions have been robbed, council tax doubled and he denied the crucial funds for flood prevention that have proved so costly in recent weeks.

Here, too, is the man who claims to want to promote Britishness but refuses to discuss why health workers in Hillingdon are being paid less than those in his Scottish constituency.

The Government now has more intrusive powers into the everyday lives of its citizens than ever before. The new Prime Minister is still firmly in favour of ID cards and Parliament will be returning to the debate over whether we should allow 90 days detention for terrorist suspects without charge.

Unfortunately I cannot get rid of the nagging doubt that this is being put before Parliament again not because we have had to release any suspect because of insufficient time, but because of some other less worthy reason. Perhaps those ten years have made me cynical.

However, you don't have to be a cynic to question why we are not being given a referendum on the new European treaty or constitution.

I think that British people should be given the opportunity to say whether we want further powers to be given away to the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels and neutering our sovereignty.

If it is only a "tidying-up" exercise, then those who claim that this is the case can try to convince the rest of us in a referendum campaign. Who was the architect of the last Labour manifesto at the last election that promised us a vote on it? Well, actually it was Gordon Brown, the new Prime Minister, who is the one person who could give one to us. If there really is a change at the top, then how about trusting the people?

John Randall is the Conservative MP for Uxbridge.