Eurosceptic ministers told to abstain on EU rebel vote
Eurosceptic ministers have been told not to vote for a rebel amendment demanding legislation to guarantee a referendum on Britain's EU membership.
Downing Street indicated that David Cameron was "relaxed" about the idea of Tory MPs attacking his Government's own Queen's Speech in the Commons lobbies.
At least 100 are tipped to back the move if the amendment is selected by Speaker John Bercow for debate on Wednesday, with cabinet ministers such as Ian Duncan Smith thought to be among them.
It is understood that free voting will be extended only to backbench MPs with ministers abstaining.
It remained unclear whether their parliamentary private secretaries - Commons aides to ministers - would be allowed to join the rebels.Conservative unrest over the European issue has been inflamed by the electoral success of the anti-EU UK Independence Party and Tory grandees advocating withdrawal.
Labour could offer a referendum on Britain’s European Union membership at the next election, its policy director Jon Cruddas told The Daily Telegraph.
The opposition party would consider “in depth” whether to hand the vote to the public as it drafts its next manifesto, according to Cruddas, who is chairing Labour’s policy review.
“It’s something we will be looking at in depth in the policy review. At some stage there is going to have to be some resolution of what our relationship is here and what format that takes. It could be a referendum.
"We have said the time is not right as regards a referendum on Europe given the economics ricocheting around the eurozone. Obviously our position needs to be developed over the next period."
– Jon Cruddas
The paper claimed that Cruddas' comments would pile pressure on the Prime Minister, who is already facing calls from his party to give the public the EU vote.
I don't think it is in Britain's interests to leave the EU but I do think what it is increasingly becoming the time for is a new settlement between Britain and Europe, and I think that new settlement will require fresh consent.
In the next parliament, I think there will be opportunities for a fresh settlement and for new consent to that settlement.