MP boosts hope of EU vote

Eurosceptic hopes of legislation in this Parliament to force a referendum on Britain's EU membership were boosted today after the ballot for Private Members' Bills was won by a Tory MP who voted for last night's rebel amendment.

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Wharton: It's time for people to have their say on EU

Stockton South MP James Wharton, who today came top of the Private Member’s Bill ballot has announced that he will be taking forward a Bill to legislate for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

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.

– Stockton South MP James Wharton

Stockton South MP tops Private Members' Bill ballot

The Stockton South MP James Wharton has come first in the ballot of MPs, allowing him to introduce a Private Members' Bill.

He was one of the 114 rebel Conservative MPs to back an amendment to the Queen's Speech, expressing regret that it did not include legislation on an EU referendum.

Now Mr Wharton will come under pressure from Euro-sceptic colleagues to choose the draft EU Referendum Bill, which was published earlier this week and backed by the party.

If passed, the Bill would commit the country to an in/out referendum on membership of the EU by the end fo 2017.