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Tory MP Bob Neil to bid for EU referendum

Bob Neil, Tory MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, has confirmed he will make another bid for an in-out EU referendum in law after coming third in the annual private member's bill ballot.

The former minister was the highest placed Conservative MP drawn at random, with Liberal Democrats Andrew George and Michael Moore securing first and second place.

MP Bob Neil hopes to revive Cameron-supported bill of EU referendum. Credit: PA

Mr Neill, a strong supporter of the EU Referendum Bill, said: "One of the first votes I ever cast was on EU membership in the 1970s .Now as I pick up my bus pass I am getting the chance to work with colleagues to secure a referendum for the British people."

"Britain needs a new deal with Europe and the Conservatives have a plan for change in Europe - renegotiate, reform and put the deal to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017," he added.

David Cameron has said he is ready to invoke the Parliament Act to force through referendum legislation, after a previous bill introduced by Stockton MP Mr Wharton collapsed in January due to Labour and Lib Dem opposition in the Lords.

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Downing Street unwilling to comment on Europe row

Downing Street has refused to wade into a row over the decision to potentially elect former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker, after reports emerged that David Cameron warned Britain could leave the EU.

We are not commenting on this. It was a private meeting, a private conversation.

– Spokesman, Downing Street

Europe must 'not be blackmailed' over chief decision

EU leaders should not bow to pressure from the minority in their decision of who to elect as European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker has said, according to an advance extract of an article published in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and ex-Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker Credit: Maurizio Gambarini/DPA/Press Association Images

"Europe must not allow itself to be blackmailed," Luxembourg's ex-premier said, adding that a broad majority of Christian Democratic and socialist leaders in the European Council backed him.

He said he was in favour of getting "all of the other heads of government on board too" in the coming three to four weeks, and offered to hold talks on priorities for the next Commission.

Read: Leaders set to review EU's agenda after Eurosceptic surge

PM tells Merkel he may 'bring referendum forward'

German magazine Spiegel said David Cameron has warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel he may have to bring the UK referendum on EU membership forward if Jean-Claude Juncker becomes the European Commission chief.

The Prime Minister said he sees Mr Jucker, Mrs Merkel's candidate for the post, as too federalist and likely to damage his hopes of reforming Britain's EU ties.

Cameron 'indirectly threatens' Merkel over EU chief

The Prime Minister has "indirectly threatened" Germany's Angela Merkel that he would no longer guarantee British membership in the EU if European leaders elect Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission chief, German magazine Spiegel said.

David Cameron and Angela Merkel Credit: Christoph Schmidt/DPA/Press Association Images

David Cameron said that if Mr Juncker became the EU Commission's president, the UK government could be destabilised to the extent that an "in-out" referendum would have to be brought forward, Spiegel reported.

The European Commission president is selected by EU leaders but must be approved by the EU parliament where Eurosceptics from the right made gains in last week's election.

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Farage: Labour will back EU poll if Ukip win Euro vote

Nigel Farage has claimed Ed Miliband will be forced to back calls for an automatic EU referendum if Ukip outperform Labour in the upcoming European elections.

The Ukip leader told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show there was growing Labour backbench support for holding an in-out referendum, despite the Labour leadership clearly opposing it.

Nigel Farage claims his party will take votes from Labour at the European elections on May 22.

Mr Miliband told the same show that Labour would back a referendum if powers were transferred from Britain to the European Union, a situation he judged "unlikely but ... possible".

But he said debating whether we should exit the EU was not "a priority" among his plans to govern Britain.

Mr Farage, meanwhile, refused to be drawn on whether he would run as an MP at the next General Election after opting against a candidacy in the upcoming Newark by-election.

"I want Ukip to win the European Elections," he said. "We'll talk about the General Election afterwards."

Poll: Almost half of over-50s would leave the EU

Almost half of Britons over the age of 50 would vote to leave the European Union, a new survey reveals.

In a nationwide poll of 11,211 people aged 50 and over, 45 percent said they would vote to leave the EU.

Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) would prefer to have a referendum on EU membership before the next general election, the survey conducted on behalf of Saga showed.

MPs' backing of Referendum Bill 'doesn't guarantee vote'

This in itself doesn't guarantee it [a vote in the next Parliament], although of course if we got his onto the statute book and made it law then it's much harder for other parties to turn against it in the future.

And the Bill we have passed two years ago - the Act of 2011 now requires a referendum if any British government gives away more powers to the European Union now has been accepted by all the other parties.

– William Hague, Foreign Secretary
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