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‘Let MPs vote on EU’
MPs should be given a vote over an in-out European Union referendum, Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis has suggested.
The local Conservative MP said by giving individual members a free vote over the last session of Parliament, constituents would go into next year’s general election better informed about where their representatives stood on the controversial subject.
The former Tory leadership candidate described as “improper and undemocratic” the effective veto each party has in the coalition over proposed legislation, after plans to write the EU referendum into law were killed off.
Speaking after the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday night, he said: “One of the most contentious issues in the past year or two within and outside the coalition has been a referendum on the European Union.
“Although there are approximately only 60 Liberal Democrat MPs on the Government benches, both sides of the coalition have an effective veto on introducing legislation.
“That is entirely improper and undemocratic. Let us take my example of the referendum Bill, although the problem does not just apply to it.
“If there is an argument inside the Government, why not let the House of Commons decide by putting the Bill to the House of Commons?”
Mr Davis said: “After all, we no longer accept that a vote lost in the House of Commons will lead to a fall in the Government. That is explicitly prevented in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, so why not put such things to the House?
“When we go into the next election, people would then be able to see exactly how everybody voted and we would no longer be relying on the promises of parties, but on their actions.”
The former Tory leadership candidate said a coalition government should be more open, not less.
Mr Davis hinted at the Lib Dems having a disproportionate amount of influence, despite being the minority partner in the coalition.
He said: “Besides, the real decision-making doesn’t get done by the Cabinet but by the quartet.”
Referring to Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem colleague Danny Alexander, he said: “The Lib Dems have half the power.”
Mr Davis said: “People applauded the formation of the coalition, as a way of bridging the gap. But there’s no point in bridging the gap if all each party ends up doing is blocking the other.”
Mr Davis questioned the usefulness of a government where there appeared to be “no scope for the Prime Minister to put these plans to the House”.