- Tyne Tees
- 17 updates
Millions of people across the country want a vote on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, the MP behind a bid to introduce a referendum on the issue said today.
Tory MP James Wharton said it was an honour to bring forward the European Union (Referendum) Bill at second reading in the House of Commons.
Bringing forward the Private Member's Bill, the backbench MP for Stockton South, said: "It is an honour for me to put forward a Bill that at its heart, the heart of our democracy - that powers should reside with the people."
He added: "In proposing this Bill I speak for many here, I speak for many millions outside because it was in 1975 of course that the Labour government gave the British people a say on our membership of the European community.
"How things have changed? Politics has moved on and the European Union has moved on."
The Tory MP James Wharton has introduced a private members' bill calling for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU to be held no later than the end of 2017.
- Private members' bill have a lower success rate than bills with government backing
- Very little parliamentary time devoted to such bills
- Its opponents are likely to try "talk out" the bill by using up the time devoted to it
- Most bills that do pass have cross-party support. Most Labour and Lib Dem MPs are opposed.
- It still has three more stages before passing the Commons and a further five in the Lords
Only a couple of dozen MPs have turned up to this debate, as pointed out by one Tory MP. One of the few on the Labour benches is Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop. Labour MPs from the North East have often claimed a referendum would scare off European investment in our region.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander is giving his response to James Wharton MP's EU referendum bill.
The debate on the EU referendum bill has got underway in The Commons. James Wharton the MP for Stockton South has much support from his Conservative colleagues.
Last night's BBQ in Downing Street clearly did the trick. Not only has David Cameron managed to persuade the vast majority of his MPs to stay in Westminster for today's vote on the EU referendum bill, they've also turned up in high spirits. The Conservative bench is packed out.
When James Wharton first stood to deliver his speech, there were huge cheers with all MPs from his party so far congratulating his bill. Labour and the Lib Dems will abstain from any vote, but a handful have turned up to the chamber. At the moment, they are providing the only voice of opposition.