Later today the UK government will face a rebellion over questions of EU membership.
The debate, tabled by Conservative MP David Nuttall after a petition got over 100,000 signatures, asks that the UK hold a nationwide vote on whether to remain in the EU.
The Conservative Party, facing a back-bench revolt over their blocking of the proposal, has issued a three-line whip — the most serious requirement to follow party lines.
Senior Conservative Minister William Hague told backbenchers today, “The whole relationship with the European Union is a matter that concerns the government … it is not just something for the House of Commons to put up some graffiti about.”
David Cameron told the EU Council today “I think it’s very clear what the country wants us to do. To stay in the EU but retrieve some of the powers.”
However, recent polls suggest 49% of the British public would like to leave the EU.
Given the pro-EU nature of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, it seems unlikely the vote will pass. But with some reports suggesting 70 MPs may break party lines and vote for a referendum, the damage to the Conservatives could be substantial.
UPDATE: Motion is voted against 483 to 111. Estimates of some 80 Conservative MPs who broke the whip.
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