Tory revolt over EU referendum

David Cameron faces a fresh backbench revolt after Tory MP Adam Afriyie said he would push for a Commons vote on holding an EU referendum in 2014.

Afriyie refuses to 'back off' EU referendum amendment

A defiant Adam Afriyie has refused to "back off" from pushing the Government into an early referendum on EU membership.

The Conservative backbencher told Daybreak a referendum in October next year would give the British people "their say", provide "business certainty" and make a Tory win in 2015 "far more likely".

The Prime Minister has promised to hold an in/out referendum in 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election, but Mr Afriyie believes voters are unsure if the vote will go ahead.

EU vote change plan sparks anger in Downing Street

Senior Conservative figures joined Downing Street today to dismiss a Tory backbencher who said he wanted to change David Cameron's plans for a referendum on Europe.

Adam Afriye's dramatic announcement that he would seek a Commons vote on a 2014 in/out referendum sparked anger in Downing Street which said that David Cameron would "not let it stand".

ITV News' Political Correspondent Claire Stewart reports.

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Home Sec: Tory MP 'got it wrong' on EU referendum

Home Secretary Theresa May followed Number 10 in slapping down Adam Afriyie's plan. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Theresa May insisted leadership-backed proposals for an in/out European Union (EU) referendum could be jeopardised by a backbench Tory MP's attempts to force a vote before the general election.

The Home Secretary followed Number 10 in slapping down Adam Afriyie's plan to table an amendment to legislation, which paves the way for a promised vote in 2017.

She said she thought Mr Afriyie had "got it wrong" and added it could pose a threat to James Wharton's Government-backed private members' bill.

Mr Wharton's proposal aims for a referendum in 2017 to give the UK time to renegotiate the terms of its EU membership.

Ms May told BBC1's the Andrew Marr Show: "I think what is crucial is that we have at the next election a Conservative Party that will be offering people a renegotiation, a new settlement with Europe, looking to the future and then putting that to the British people in an in or out referendum.

"What the amendment possibly could do, as James Wharton himself who put in the referendum bill through Parliament has said, is it could actually jeopardise that bill."

Tory MP: Time for EU referendum vote 'is coming'

Conservative MP Conor Burns has said he is surprised by prominent backbencher Adam Afriyie's attempt to force a vote on an in/out EU referendum before the general election.

Mr Burns wrote on Specator magazine's Coffee House website:

After opposing European integration throughout my political life...I don't want us to throw it when I have a profound sense of a moment whose time is coming.

If we can pass the Wharton Bill then a referendum will be a live issue at the next election and a vote will become inevitable.

Liam Fox urges party to unite against Afriyie

Conservative ex-defence secretary Liam Fox has urged the Tories to unite against the Afriyie amendment which he said was a "gift" to opponents of a referendum.

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Any attempt to amend @jameswhartonmp EU Bill will be a gift to all those who want to deny the British people a vote. Tories must unite! #EU

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Afriyie: Amendement would strengthen Cameron

Adam Afriyie told Sky News' Murnaghan that his amendment would strengthen David Cameron's position because European leaders would believe they have to come forward with offers or changes to persuade the British people to stay part of the EU.

Anyone under the age of 56 hasn't had their say on our membership of the European Union. In fact, nobody has had a say on our membership of the European Union because nobody has ever been asked.

What I am saying is we should have that referendum in 2014 and over 50% of the population want that, 80% want the referendum, 80% of businesses as well want the certainty, so I think this is a good thing.

– Tory MP Adam Afriyie

Farage: Cameron's referendum position confuses public

UKIP leader Nigel Farage responded to Adam Afriyie's position on an EU Refurendum in 2014, telling BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that David Cameron's changing stance has left people unsure of what to believe.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage told Andrew Marr that Tory MP Adam Afriyie has 'put his finger on the real problem'
UKIP leader Nigel Farage told Andrew Marr that Tory MP Adam Afriyie has 'put his finger on the real problem' Credit: PA

"What Adam Afriyie has done is he has put his finger on the real problem and that is, four years ago Mr Cameron gave us a cast-iron guarantee of a referendum.

"This time last year he was saying 'no referendum' and he's now saying there should be a referendum and people aren't quite sure what to believe."

Afriyie's proposal challenged by fellow Tory MP

Adam Afriyie's plan to steer leadership-backed legislation on an EU referendum through Parliament has been criticised by fellow Tory MP James Wharton.

 James Wharton MP
James Wharton MP Credit: PA/PA Wire

Wharton suggested the move would delay and even "kill" the private member's bill he introduced in July, and hoped Afriyie would "rethink" his approach.

He said: "We need to build as broad a base of support for the bill as we can if we are to get it through Parliament and the policy of a renegotiation, followed by an in/out referendum, is the right one to do that and the right one for the country.

"I hope MPs will decline to support it as the ultimate impact might well be to kill my bill, which would only help those who don't want any referendum at all."

Timeline: Conservatives' turmoil over EU referendum

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