David Davis MP backs rebellion over EU membership; Tories hope to force House of Commons vote


As reported in the Hull Daily Mail:

MPs David Davis and Andrew Percy will today back a growing Tory rebellion that wants to force a House of Commons vote on a European referendum. They are among about 80, mostly Conservative, MPs who “respectfully regret” that legislation paving the way for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU was not in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

It comes as the Conservative Party published a draft Bill for an in/out referendum in a last-minute effort to appease the rebels, who want a ballot before 2017 – the Prime Minister’s preferred date.

David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said the amendment was designed to reassure voters and Brussels that a referendum was definitely going to happen. He said: “One reason to have a referendum law before the next election is so that people can feel more confident it will happen while sending the same telegraph message to Brussels saying, ‘We mean it’. That way we’ll get a serious negotiation.

“We are as a country being handicapped by what we’re doing at the moment. In order to make our country the Hong Kong of Europe we have to get on with it, and to do it in a way that stands a reasonable chance of success.”

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy said: “Long before the rise of UKIP, I was arguing for a referendum on our membership of the EU.

“Local businesses tell me that the EU is now a burden on their expansion, while local residents are angry about uncontrolled EU immigration.

“That is why at every opportunity since my election in 2010 I have voted in support of a referendum.”

The Conservatives hope the draft referendum Bill will be taken up by one of its backbench MPs in the form of a private member’s bill, rather than one sponsored by the Government.

A ballot for private members’ bills will be held on Thursday and, although they have little chance of becoming law, there is Parliamentary time available for them to be debated.

But there is little sign that this has satisfied the Tory rebels, up to 100 of who are expected to back the amendment when it is debated this evening.

Although it is unlikely to be passed due to opposition from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Downing Street has confirmed that Conservative ministers would be able to abstain.

In Short Two Tory politicians representing voters in East Yorkshire have rebelled against their party over Britain’s membership of the EU.