EU vote in the commons

Parliament has voted not to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership at the present time, despite a sizeable rebellion by both Conservative and Labour MPs.

The front benches of the Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour parties voted against the motion.

In total 483 MPs voted against while 111 defied party whips and voted for, a majority of 372.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the revolt was a "humiliation" for Prime Minister David Cameron.

"If he can't win the argument with his own backbenchers, how can the country have confidence that he can win the arguments that matter for Britain?" he said.

He didn't explain how this chimes with the fact that, on Labour's own figures, about 25 Labour backbenchers failed to vote with him.

A Downing Street spokesman said many people who voted for the motion felt very strongly, and their views were respected.

"However, the government has to do what is in the national interest. The easy thing to do would have been for us to have avoided expressing a view. It was important to take a strong lead - because Britain's best interests are served by being in the EU."

Nick Robinson at the BBC wrote that the challenge to DC "is not over his government's survival but to spell out what he meant by promising 'fundamental change' in Britain's relationship with Europe and when and how he'll deliver it."

William Hague said during the debate on the motion for an in-out referendum that

"This is not just something for the House of Commons to put up some graffiti on a Thursday afternoon. This proposition is the wrong question at the wrong time.

"It was not in the manifesto, it cuts right across the rules for holding referendums, it would create additional economic uncertainty. Clearly an in-out referendum is not the right idea."


Jim said…
my how power corrupts. Introducing a 3 line whip to ensure you get your own way. Sounds a bit too much like a certain Libyan dictator to me.

well Dave, remember this line

"We are the only major party to have consistently, it is up to the British people to decide on our future in Europe."

you should do, you said it yourself in 2009
Jim said…
"When your neighbour's house is on fire, your first impulse should be to help them put out the flames, not least to protect your own house" - David Cameron.

Here's some free advise Dave.

when your house, or next door if you live in a semi or the building you are in catches fire, get every one you can out, Grab the cat and get the hell out of there yourself. Its good advise that Dave, you can even ask the fire brigade if you like.
Tim said…
As this whole, sick, federalist nightmare lurches from one calamity to the next, this was exactly the right time to set in motion our escape route. Well done to the 111, including my MP, Gordon Henderson. Shame on the venal, spineless, sycophantic horse manure that filed into the opposite lobby.
Chris Whiteside said…
There are a lot of strongly held opinions on this issue, and I respect those who take a different view to myself.

I note that Labour MP Frank Field said that the Tory and Labour rebels are closer to the views of most Labour voters than the Labour leadership is, and he may well be right.

I support a referendum on any proposal to transfer powers from Britain to the E.U.

I would also support an In-Out referendum if I thought it would give the EU the good kick up the rear-end which it needs.

Unfortunately the most likely result is that first, Britain would vote to stay in, and second, this would be misinterpreted as a vote of confidence in the Union and an indication that Britain will never have the guts to leave and therefore there is less need to keep up the pressure for reform of the E.U.

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