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MP to table EU referendum bill after topping ballot

Conservative MP James Wharton will be tabling an EU referendum Bill as a Private Member's Bill after coming top of today's ballot of MPs, his office confirmed.

The Conservative Party has committed to holding a referendum by the end of 2017 and I believe Parliament should be given a chance to show its support for the Prime Minister’s position and enshrine this commitment in law.

I will be bringing forward a Bill to give people a say on our membership and hope that MPs from across the political divide will support me.

Like many people I am not old enough to have had a say when the original 1975 referendum took place. I think it is time for people to have their say again and I am delighted to get the opportunity to bring forward this important Bill.

– James Wharton, Stockton South MP

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Commons to vote on EU members' bill

MPs approach the bench during last night's Commons amendment vote. Credit: PA

The Tory leadership will today attempt to push forward plans paving the way for a future in/out EU poll by piggy-backing on backbench legislation.

David Cameron was last night dealt a "devastating blow" when more than 100 Conservative MPs backed a vote criticising the Government's failure to bring forward plans to enshrine an EU referendum in law.

A ballot is being held this morning for Private Member's Bills, which party command will seek to use as a vehicle legally to commit to a poll on Britain's relationship with Brussels.

Newspaper poll finds 43% in favour of EU exit

Nearly half of British people would vote to leave the European Union, according to a poll asking the official referendum question.

The YouGov poll for The Sun found 43% of people believed the UK should not remain in the EU, while 37% said it should.

People were asked: "Do you think the UK should remain a member of the EU?"16% said they didn't know, while 3% would not vote.

Other findings revealed two thirds of people think Prime Minister David Cameron's stance on Europe was about short-term tactics, while 55% said UKIP leader Nigel Farage campaigns for policies he believes in.

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Hague insists 114 Tories defying PM is not embarrassing

Foreign Secretary William Hague has denied being embarrassed that 114 Conservative MPs voted in favour of an amendment to the Queen's speech, insisting it was a "free vote".

He added that the "whole [Conservative] party would like to be able to proceed with legislation" for an EU referendum, but that it was constrained by its Lib Dem coalition partners.

114 Tory MPs voted for EU referendum motion

The Press Association has a breakdown of the MPs who voted for a Tory MP's amendment to the Queen's Speech expressing regret that David Cameron had not included an EU referendum bill in its legislative plans for the upcoming year:

  • 114 Conservatives
  • 12 Labour
  • One Lib Dem
  • Four DUP

188 Conservatives did not vote. Tory members of the Government were told to abstain.

Labour: Vote 'is further devastating blow to PM's authority'

This vote is a further devastating blow to the Prime Minister's authority.

It demonstrates that David Cameron has managed to turn a Europe issue into a leadership issue.

This is a Prime Minister who has lost control of the agenda and tonight lost control of his Party.

David Cameron’s backbenchers have shown they simply won’t give up until he gives in.

The real risk is that he spends the coming month trying to get his party back in line, instead of focusing on getting our economy back on track.

– Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander
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